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WfcJP W ^%\i 4 d^ir* "fj^^Y^ir y ^ ^w^^^^ 

BY HORACE KEPHARJ 




SPORTING FIREARMS 



SPORTING 
FIREARMS 



BY 

HORACE KEPHART 

if 

AUTHOR OF "THE BOOK OF CAMPING AND 
WOODCRAFT," "CAMP COOKERY," ETC. 



Illustrated with Diagrams 




NEW YORK 

OUTING PUBLISHING COMPANY 
MCMXII 



&//I77 



COPYRIGHT, 1912, BY 
OUTING PUBLISHING COMPANY. 



Entered at Stationer's Hall, London, England. 
All rights reserved 



FOREWORD 

It is assumed that the reader of this booklet 
is familiar with gun catalogues hence space is 
saved by omitting nearly everything that cata- 
logues have to say. 

Let us consider rifles and shotguns from the 
user's standpoint, simply as tools of sport, to 
be judged strictly on their merits. The 
" make " of a gun, like a horse's pedigree, may be 
of good or ill Depute; but it is not a final guar- 
antee of merit. 

To prove a gun thoroughly, it must be tested 
both on the range and in the field. Nobody can 
tell from field shooting alone just what a gun's 
shooting qualities are; nor can anybody tell 
much about its killing power and serviceability 
until he has used it a good deal on game. 

HORACE KEPHART. 
Bryson, N. C. January, 1912. 



253387 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 

CHAPTER PAGE 

I. RIFLES AND AMMUNITION ... 11 

II. THE FLIGHT OF BULLETS ... 26 

III. KILLING POWER 40 

IV. RIFLE MECHANISM AND MATERIALS . 59 
V. RIFLE SIGHTS 76 

VI. TRIGGERS AND STOCKS CARE OF 

RIFLE 91 

PART II. THE SHOTGUN 

VII. SHOT PATTERNS AND PENETRATION . 109 

VIII. GAUGES AND WEIGHTS .... 124 

IX. MECHANISM AND BUILD OF SHOTGUNS 140 



SPORTING FIREARMS 



SPORTING FIREARMS 



CHAPTER I 

EIFLES AND AMMUNITION 

THE shooting merits of a rifle are rated 
by the accuracy, velocity, and force with 
which it delivers bullets. I use the word 
force, for brevity's sake, in an arbitrary sense, to 
include energy of impact, penetration, and shock. 
Some rifles are accurate, but drive the bullets 
so slowly that they describe a high curve, so that 
they will over-shoot or under-shoot beyond, say, 
fifty yards, unless the distance is closely esti- 
mated and proper allowance is made in aiming. 
Some, shoot swift and hard, but drive their bullets 
now high, now low, now right, now left, and no 
man can tell just where they will hit. Others 
shoot swift, and hard, and true: they can be 
relied upon to hit " where they are held," without 
allowing for distance, up to, say, one hundred and 
fifty yards. When all three merits are combined 
in the same gun we have a weapon of high ballistic 

11 



SPORTING FIREARMS 

efficiency an " old reliable " that a man may well 
be proud of. 

I have spoken in hunters' terms and as though 
it were the gun alone that did the work. But 
the degree of accuracy, velocity, and force with 
which a rifle shoots is really determined not so 
much by the weapon itself as by the charge with 
which it is loaded. If a novice should ask " How 
straight and how hard does a Winchester rifle 
shoot? " (or a Remington, or any other) nobody 
could give a direct answer; for it depends on 
what cartridge is used. If, on the other hand, he 
should ask " How straight and how hard does a 
.25-35 Winchester cartridge shoot?" (or any 
other) we could answer definitely; for it will give 
about the same results in any standard arm that 
is made to use it. 

Of course, the precision with which a bullet 
starts on its errand is governed largely by the 
design, material, and mechanical perfection of the 
gun barrel. So, too, velocity of bullet depends 
somewhat upon length of barrel. But the com- 
mon experience of gunmakers has so nearly 
standardized these matters that we need not con- 
sider them for the present. 

The cartridge determines the kind of work that 
a rifle can do. It is -a law of scientific gunnery 

12 



RIFLES AND AMMUNITION 

to design first a cartridge, then a gun to handle it. 
And this is done in practical gunmaking whenever 
an arm of superior ballistics is produced. On 
the contrary, whenever a charge is ill-balanced 
or a bullet malformed, for the sake of fitting the 
cartridge to a particular breech mechanism, bad 
shooting is bound to result. 

This matter is so important, yet so commonly 
overlooked, that I may be allowed a little space 
to illustrate and emphasize it : 

In the half-century preceding our Civil War 
the muzzle-loader reached its highest develop- 
ment. After infinitely varied experiments, Amer- 
ican riflemen discovered a peculiar bullet called 
the "sugar loaf" (fig. 1) that outclassed all 




FIGURE 1. 

others in ballistic merit. Its length was a little 
less than twice its own caliber. Its distinguish- 
ing feature was an extremely slow taper from 
point to base, the bearing or cylindrical part be- 
ing so short that this bullet could only be loaded 
by using a false muzzle to start it. Except for 
a slightly blunted tip, it had fine lines, like a boat 

13 



SPORTING FIREARMS 

built for high speed. It flew with extreme ac- 
curacy up to five hundred yards, and with a lower 
curve or trajectory than any other form of coni- 
cal ball. 

With such bullets a rifle by Morgan James 
made a score of twenty-five consecutive shots, at 
two hundred and twenty yards, with average 
deviation of 1.4 inch; also ten shots, same dis- 
tance, average deviation .8 inch, measuring from 
center of bullet hole to center of group (targets 
published in Atlantic Monthly, October, 1859). 
The bullet here illustrated was used, in a .42-130- 
270 muzzle-loader, in the Forest and Stream tra- 
jectory test at Creedmoor in 1885, and made a 
lower curve than any American or foreign breech- 
loader of its day (height of trajectory 6.4 inches 
midway over the two hundred yard range). We 
may say that this or a similar charge gave the 
highest ballistic efficiency the best combination 
of accuracy, velocity, and force that ever was 
attained with black gunpowder within sporting 
ranges. 

When breech-loader^ were introduced the 
sugar-loaf bullet could not be used in them, owing 
to its short bearing. Their mechanism was so 
weak, and the shells were so weak, that breech 
pressure had to be kept down to a low figure. 

14 



RIFLES AND AMMUNITION 

This could only be done by using a small charge 
of powder and a light, short bullet. Still, the 
bullet had to have considerable bearing, in order 
to start straight. 

This meant a bluff shoulder, like the bow of a 
canal boat, and consequent low speed. Such a 
bullet is illustrated in fig. 2 9 the well known .44- 




FIGUBE 2. 

40-200. The accuracy of such a charge is far 
inferior to the one previously mentioned. Its 
trajectory is so high (sixteen inches midway over 
the two hundred yard range) that shooting it be- 
yond one hundred yards is mostly guesswork, and 
seldom effective. And yet more of this ammuni- 
tion, probably, was sold in America than any 
other that has been used on big game, and more 
game has been killed with it than with any other. 
It came into use at the right time, when an army 
of hunters, many of them ex-soldiers, advanced 
into the West, where game was wonderfully plenti- 
ful. These cartridges were cheap, and they could 
be bought at any frontier post. Game was easily 
approached, in those days, and sportsmanship 

15 



SPORTING FIREARMS 

had no more ethics than timber cutting nobody 
cared how many broken-legged or gut-shot ani- 
mals crawled off to fester miserably; in a thicket 
and die by slow torture. 

So it came to pass that the record for Amer- 
ican game shooting was won by as poor a cart- 
ridge as ever was forced into an arbitrary shape. 
" It should be noted, in this case, that the bullet 
is of only \y 2 calibers length, cylindrical through- 
out half its length, and very blunt. Such a missile 
will fly straight enough to satisfy average men, 
up to one hundred and fifty yards, if started at 
very slow speed (standard muzzle velocity 1,300 
feet a second). If driven by a strong charge of 
powder it would meet excessive air resistance, 
would waste energy like a bluff-bowed boat driven 
by powerful engines, would " corkscrew " in its 
flight, and soon would go staggering like a ship 
without a rudder. 

Good marksmen never were satisfied with such 
ammunition as the .44-40, .38-40, .32-20, and 
others similarly proportioned. The demand for 
something more accurate and of surer killing 
power became insistent. It was met by a series 
of cartridges of radically different type, in which 
the bullet was of from 2J^ to 3 calibers length, 
such as the .45-110-550, .45-70-405, .40-90-370, 

16 



RIFLES AND AMMUNITION 

.40-70-330, .38-55-255, and .32-40-165. (The 

first figure, in each case, is the caliber in him- 
dredths of an inch; the second is the weight of 
powder, in grains; the third is the weight of 
bullet, in grains.) The .45-70-405 bullet is 
shown, as an example in fig. 3. 




FIGURE 3. 

These were the most accurate sporting cart- 
ridges produced in black powder days. Their 
bullets, being long and heavy, could only be 
driven at low speed (1,300 to 1,400 feet a second) 
and had high trajectories (10 to 13^/2 inches 
midway for two hundred yards), but they were 
reliable, if proper elevation was given, up to 
three hundred to one thousand yards. Discrim- 
inating marksmen refused to use repeating rifles 
until they were made strong enough to handle 
ammunition of this or similar type. 

The one fault of the long, heavy bullet was its 
high trajectory. It is hard to estimate distance 
correctly over uneven ground, across ravines, and 
over the water. It is harder still to make just 
the right allowance for it when aiming over open 

17 



SPORTING FIREARMS 

sights. Moreover, game is hunted where there is 
cover. A man may not be expecting a shot at 
less than one hundred yards, but there is no tell- 
ing when game may be jumped unexpectedly at 
some intermediate distance. Suppose he carries 
a .45-70, or a .38-55, sighted to strike center at 
one hundred yards. He jumps a deer at fifty 
yards, and fires quickly no time to think about 
sight allowance. His rifle will shoot nearly three 
inches higher than he aims. This may mean all 
the difference between a clean kill and a cripple. 

Had he been armed with a weapon taking such a 
cartridge as the 1906 model .30 U. S. A., the bul- 
let would have risen no more than a negligible 
fraction of an inch above line of aim, at any point 
from muzzle to mark. At longer ranges than one 
hundred yards the advantage of a low trajectory 
rapidly mounts in value. 

To meet the demand for a flatter line of fire 
in repeating rifles a new series of cartridges was 
devised, of which the .45-90-300 and .50-110-300 
are typical. The total length of cartridge being 
limited by the form of breech mechanism, increased 
velocity could only be gained by enlarging the 
shell capacity and shortening the bullet. 

Here, again, accuracy was sacrificed with no 
offsetting gain. The difference in trajectory be- 

18 



RIFLES AND AMMUNITION 

tween the .45-90-300 and the .45-70-405 was so 
slight as to be of no practical value, considering 
that the latter bullet is the steadier of the two. 
Muzzle energies are the same, and the remaining 
energy of the 405 grain bullet is greater at all 
ranges than that of the 300. The .50-110-300, 
with a bullet of only one and one-third calibers 
length, and very blunt, is notoriously inaccurate, 
so that its trajectory figures are quite misleading. 
The .50-100-450, with longer bullet in the same 
shell is far superior to it in every respect. 

Then came smokeless powder and steel- jacketed 
bullets, changing everything. We awoke to the 
fact that killing power or shock does not depend 
upon caliber alone. We also learned that a bullet 




FIGURE 4. 
of four or five calibers length could be given an 

initial speed of two thousand feet a second, or 

. ^ 

more, and yet shoot with precision at. all ranges, 

with a trajectory lower even than that of the 
" sugar loaf " bullet from our grandfathers' 
muzzle-loader. The most effective sporting cart- 
ridges of this class are those using bullets of the 
length here mentioned, (fig 4), with lead exposed 

19 



SPORTING FIREARMS 

at the tip so as to mushroom on impact. Weaker 
ammunition for medium game was provided in 
the .303 Savage, .30-30, .25-35, etc., with bullets 
of three to three and three-fourths calibers length, 
which were of fair accuracy and stopping power. 

Some dissatisfaction has been found with am- 
munition for these small-bores, owing to defective 
bullets of the soft-point kind, which were not ac- 
curate and did not penetrate as they should. 
Consequently many hunters have insisted on larger 
calibers. An attempt to make high-velocity am- 
munition out of the old .45s and ,50s was tried by 
returning again to the futile expedient of using 
bullets that were very short and stubby. It failed, 
as all such efforts are bound to fail, since a bullet 
that is inaccurate at moderate speed is sure to fly 
wilder and wilder as the velocity is increased. 
Other large caliber ammunition using longer bul- 
lets, such as the .35 Winchester, .405 Winchester, 
.9 mm. Mauser and Mannlicher, has given much 
better results. 

Up to this point in the development of firearms, 
it seemed to have been proven that accuracy and 
sustained velocity could only be attained, in 
breech-loaders, by using long and heavy bullets. 
The lesson learned in muzzle-loading days that a 
great deal depends upon the shape of a projectile's 

20 



RIFLES AND AMMUNITION 

head upon its lines, as one would say of a boat 
had been forgotten. Our riflemen and our gun- 
makers, as a class, seemed possessed of the notion 
that they had nothing to learn of their forefathers 
and nothing to learn abroad. 

Meantime the U. S. A. ordnance board was get- 
ting interesting news from beyond the horizon. 
Smokeless powder and jacketed bullets were intro- 
duced from Europe; then came, from the same 
source, bolt action repeaters, clip-loading maga- 
zines, rimless shells, machines for charging cart- 
ridges by weight instead of by bulk, and, finally, 
an odd form of projectile, the sharp-pointed 
Spitzer bullet, which upset our so-called science 
of ballistics and taught us anew the lesson of the 
" sugar loaf." 

The shape of the Spitzer bullet is shown in fig. 
5, which is a view, partly in cross-section, of the 




FIGURE 5. 



.30 U. S. A. cartridge, model of 1906. The pro- 
jectile is shorter than the former service bullet by 
about one-half caliber. Considerably more than 



SPORTING FIREARMS 

half its length forward is finely tapered from 
point to shoulder. In fact, only so much of the 
bullet is cylindrical as is necessary to give it 
secure bearing in the shell and a straight start 
in the bore of the gun. 

Although the Spitzer weighs only one hundred 
and fifty grains, as against the two hundred and 
twenty of the old service bullet, its fine lines enable 
it to pierce the air much more easily than the old 
model with round head. When a bullet of the old 
form is made short enough to weigh only one hun- 
dred and fifty grains, and is fired with the same 
muzzle velocity as the sharp bullet, its speed falls 
off much more rapidly, and its trajectory is 
higher and higher as the range increases, until, at 
seven hundred yards, it even rises above that of 
the two hundred and twenty grain rounded-head 
bullet. 

Form of bullet head becomes of greater and 
greater consequence as muzzle velocity is in- 
creased. It is much the same with projectiles in 
air as it is with boats in water the higher the 
speed, the finer should be the lines. An ideal 
shape for a projectile would be somewhat like that 
of a submarine torpedo, sharp at both ends, and 
I doubt not that some day we shall come to it. In 
fact, I experimented with such missiles about 



RIFLES AND AMMUNITION 

twenty years ago and found that no sabot was 
needed to start them straight and that they re- 
quired a much slower twist than bullets with 
square bases, which have to be shot light end fore- 
most, in defiance of nature. 

The change wrought by the Spitzer bullet has 
been as revolutionary, in its way, as that effected 
by smokeless powder. The maximum ordinate 
(highest rise) of the two hundred and twenty grain 
Springfield bullet, for one thousand yards range, 
is twenty-two feet; that for the sharp-point bul- 
let is only fourteen and one-half feet. At all 
ranges up to two thousand yards the velocity of 
the sharp-point is greater and the trajectory 
flatter. Up to one thousand yards the energy is 
greater and the accuracy is better. In fact, the 
.30 U. S. A. cartridges turned out by the Frank- 
ford Arsenal since 1909 are probably the most 
accurate ammunition ever produced for a hand 
firearm, the mean radius at five hundred yards 
being 4.87 inches, and the mean vertical deviation 
2.34 inches. When the rifle is sighted to strike 
center at one hundred and fifty yards, its bullet 
rises only 0.61 inch above actual line of sight at 
fifty yards, 1.05 inch at seventy-five yards, 1.07 
inch at one hundred yards, 0.71 inch at one hun- 
dred and twenty-five yards, and falls only 1.19 



SPORTING FIREARMS 

inches below it at one hundred and seventy-five 
yards (my own figures). 

Most surprising of all properties of this re- 
markable projectile is the fact, now well estab- 
lished, that the full-mantled bullet (not soft-nose) 
has tremendous smashing effect on living tissue 
and bones up to three hundred yards quite 
enough for any American game. 

I have written this sketch for a practical pur- 
pose. Since it is the cartridge that determines 
the kind of work that a rifle can do, it follows 
that when one is buying a rifle he first should con- 
sider the kind of work that he wants to do with 
it, then choose a cartridge adapted to such work. 
When this is settled, but not until then, it is time 
to consider what functioning mechanism is best 
for the purpose, what weight and proportions of 
arm, what materials and finish; then, finally, who 
makes the best gun of that kind. The trouble is 
that there are so many varieties of ammunition on 
our market that anyone studying catalogues and 
ballistic tables is likely to get " bumfuzzled," as 
my backwoods partner puts it. In the catalogue 
of one maker alone you can count more than four 
hundred different rifle cartridges, all of them on 
sale to-day. Nine out of ten of them are out-of-* 
date, or of bad design. To criticize all of them 

24 



RIFLES AND AMMUNITION 

would take a book. I have tried to show how one 

can discriminate by following a few safe rules : 

1. No cartridge is worthy of consideration by 

up-to-date sportsmen unless the bullet is at least 



3 calibers long for .25 caliber bullets 

2% " " " .30 to .35 " 

2 " " " .40 to .45 " 

1% " " " .50 



2. No bullet is accurate at high speed unless it 
either is long and heavy or has fine lines forward. 



CHAPTER II 

THE FLIGHT OF BULLETS 

THE trajectory of 'a bullet is the curved path 
of its flight. Every missile travels in a 
constantly increasing curve. The height 
of that curve, for a given range, depends upon the 
speed at which the projectile flies. No trajec- 
tory can be flat, because no curve is flat; it will 
be low with a swift bullet and high with a slow 
one. The advantage of a low trajectory is that 
it extends the range throughout which one can 
hit game without making a close guess at the dis- 
tance and precise allowance for the drop of bul- 
let. 

Imagine yourself hunting with an accurate but 
low-speed rifle say a .38-55 or a .45-70 of the 
type favored a few years ago. In your hunting 
ground the cover is so thick that the guides say: 
66 Don't bother about trajectory; nine-tenths of 
big game is shot within a hundred yards, and any 
rifle will carry ' level ' enough to do the trick at 
that distance. 55 

26 



THE FLIGHT OF BULLETS 

But the days slip by, your vacation is near 
spent, and you have no trophy. Then the ex- 
traordinary happens. A fine bull moose steps 
out to the lake's margin. There he stands, clearly 
outlined against sky and water, as fair a mark 
as any bull'seye on your target range at home. 
It is your last chance to retrieve from failure a 
trip you have planned these three years past, and 
one that has cost you a pretty penny, withal. 

The beast is a good way off; just how far is not 
easy for city-trained eyes to gauge. You say to 
yourself " three hundred yards," and raise the rear 
sight accordingly. Beside you is a big, old mossy 
log as good a muzzle rest as man could wish. It 
is a fair advantage to take for so long a shot. 
The moose does not wind you. There is no hurry. 
You aim as you never aimed before, draw trigger 
with never a blink or shrink, and miss! 

" Chr-r-ristopher Columbus ! " or words to that 
effect. 

The moose has vanished forever. And what's 
to blame? Trajectory is to blame. Your guide 
was right about the nine times in ten; but about 
this supreme and never-to-be-forgotten one chance 
in ten he was dead, dead wrong. 

You overestimated the distance by fifty yards 
not a very bad guess, under the circumstances. At 

27 



SPORTING FIREARMS 

two hundred and fifty yards where the moose really 
stood, your slow-moving bullet, aimed for three 
hundred, flew nearly or quite two feet too high. 
Had you been armed with an accurate high-speed 
rifle, say a .30 U. S., ' 06, the bullet would have 
landed on the moose, from two to seven inches 
above the point you aimed at, with strong prob- 
ability of bringing meat to camp and a fine head 
for the wall of your den at home. 

These figures are not the kind reprinted by 
catalogue experts in the gun-talk pages of maga- 
zines. They are the kind that bring results. No 
gun ever shoots swift for one man and slow for 
another. Its trajectory is pre-determined when 
the cartridge is loaded, and one can no more alter 
it by anecdotes of fluke shots than he can by pull- 
ing harder on the trigger. 

Trajectory, then, is something that every up- 
to-date sportsman should understand. To do so, 
one must give attention to a few figures. Those 
commonly printed in catalogue tables do not tell 
the facts that a hunter most needs to know. The 
midway rise of a bullet over certain ranges may ] 
have some value in comparing weapons, but little ~ 
in hunting ; for nobody will make a mistake of t 
fifty per cent in judging distance. The zone of 
probable error is the twenty-five to seventy-five 

28 



THE FLIGHT OF BULLETS 

yards nearest the mark shot at, both on the hither 
side and beyond the object. 

Trajectory tables, to be of practical use to 
sportsmen, should show the height of bullet curve 
every twenty-five or fifty yards from muzzle to 
range sighted for; also the drop below line of 
aim, at similar intervals, for some distance beyond 
that range. It is not expedient to publish many 
such tables in this place, nor is it needful to do so. 
Rifle ammunition may be classified in a few well- 
defined groups, and a typical cartridge of each 
group will serve for comparison. The meaning 
of the tables published herewith can be taken in 
at a glance. 

I have selected four typical cartridges, and give 
their trajectories, at sporting ranges, in detail. 
They may be compared with others by noting, first, 
the relative length of bullet in calibers, and, second, 
the midway height of curve over a given range, as 
shown in catalogues. The cartridges chosen for 
illustration are as follows 

(A). The .22 long rifle. Typical of miniature 
rim-fires used on very small game and vermin; 
also by beginners, as primers of marksmanship, 
and by older sportsmen to " keep their hands in." 

(B). The .32 Winchester auto-loading cart- 
ridge. Type of cheap, short-range ammunition 

29 



SPORTING FIREARMS 

suitable for shooting in settled regions at small 
game generally and at predatory creatures, yet 
powerful enough for an occasional deer or black 
bear. 

(C). The well known .30-30. Differing but 
little from others in a series of cartridges of about 
two thousand feet a second muzzle velocity which 
are much used on game from deer to elk, having 
fairly low trajectory, fair accuracy, and enough 
power for all but the largest American game. 

(D). The .30 U. S., model of 1906, with Spitzer 
bullet. Typical of the latest 4 military and big 
game cartridges of highest velocity associated with 
fine accuracy and great shocking power. 

The calculations are my own, checked against 
results of careful tests, and are close enough aver- 
ages for all practical purposes. Be it remem- 
bered, however, that trajectories for the same arm 
vary a little, even at moderate ranges, according 
to atmospheric conditions and elevation above sea- 
level; more still, according to the vertical devia- 
tion of shots fired and the flip or stiffness of gun 
barrel. Some of these points will be considered 
later. 

Trajectory is of practical interest to hunters 
in several ways : 

(1). It shows the extreme range to which a 
30 



THE FLIGHT OF BULLETS 

given rifle can be sighted without letting the bullet 
rise more than a negligible amount above the line 
of aim; also the farthest range throughout which, 
without allowing for distance, it will neither rise 
above nor fall below a given animal's vitals when 
aimed at their center. 

For example : I am hunting squirrels with a .22 
taking the long-rifle cartridge. Squirrel range 
may be anywhere from fifteen to fifty yards. I 
adjust the rear sight, by targeting, to hit a nail 
head at thirty-five yards. The bullet's curve then 
will be as follows : 

(TABLE I.) 
35 YARD TRAJECTORY OF .22 LONG-RIFLE. 

Muzzle velocity 1,100 feet a second. Top of front sight 
2 inch above axis of bore. 



Trajectory, 


inches. Distance, yards. 




10 


20 


25 


30 


35 


40 


50 


60 


Above or 


















below hori- 


















zontal . . . 


0.39 


0.47 


0.40 


0.25 





0.29 


1.30 


2.61 


Sight al- 


















lowance . . 


.35, 


.21 


.14 


.07 





.07 


.21 


.35 


Above or 


















below line 
















of aim . . 


0.04 


0.26 0.26 


0.18 





0.22 


1.09 


2.26 



The minus sign indicates drop below line of 
sight. 

31 



SPORTING FIREARMS 

Trajectories must be figured from the horizontal 
plane, which is a straight line from center of 
muzzle to the point the rear sight is adjusted for. 
But the curve that counts in hunting is that above 
or below line of aim, which is a straight line from 
top of front sight to the same point. The amount 
of sight allowance depends upon height of front 
sight (axis of a telescope sight) and is propor- 
tional to the distance. 

In this instance my .22 bullet, starting half an 
inch below line of aim, cuts upward through that 
line at ten yards from the muzzle, rises to a quar- 
ter-inch above it, then falls to line of aim at thirty- 
five yards. If I shoot forty yards with the same 
sighting, I must aim a quarter of an inch high, to 
allow for drop; at fifty yards, one inch high; at 
sixty yards, two and one-quarter inches high. 

Can I improve matters by adjusting for a fifty 
yard " point-blank? " Let me see: 

(TABLE II.) 
50 YARD TRAJECTORY OF .22 LONG-RIFLE. 



Trajectory, 
inches. 

Above or 
below 
horizontal . . 
Sight allow- 
ance . 


10 

0.65 

.42 

0.23 


20 

0.99 
.33 

0.66 


Dis 
25 

1.05 
.25 

0.80 


stance 
30 

1.03 
.17 

0.86 


, yarc 
40 

0.75 

.08 

0.67 


Is. 
50 







60 

1.05 
.08 

0.97 


75 

3.26 
.25 

3.01 


Above or be- 
low line of 
aim 



THE FLIGHT OF BULLETS 

This curve is too high for squirrel shooting. 
The thirty-five yard point-blank was just right. 
For large animals, harder to approach, fifty 
yards might be the minimum. 

(2). Such a trajectory table shows what al- 
lowance to make for drop of bullet beyond the 
point to which the sights are set. In making a 
quick shot beyond point-blank, one does not raise 
the rear sight. Either he draws a coarse bead, 
or he aims as much higher as he thinks the bullet 
will drop. The latter practice is best, for there 
is less guesswork about it. 

(3. A set of trajectory tables for a certain 
cartridge, worked out for various ranges, shows 
how far it would be profitable to shoot at game 
of a given size with that charge how far the 
bullet's curve will be low enough to give a reason- 
able chance of hitting. For instance : the .22 
long-rifle cartridge will put ten consecutive shots 
in a three inch bull'seye at one hundred yards, or 
into an eight-inch bull'seye at two hundred yards ? 
when the air is still. 

Does this mean that it is fit to use at such ranges 
in hunting? Target shooters sometimes forget 
that there are no sighting shots at game. The 
precision required in judging distance with .22 
long-rifle sighted for one hundred and two hun- 
dred yards, respectively, is shown below: 

33 



SPORTING FIREARMS 



(TABLE III.) 
100 YAED TRAJECTORY OF .22 LONG-RIFLE. 



150 



15.37 
.25 

15.12 
(TABLE IV.) 
200 YARD TRAJECTORY OF .22 LONG-RIFLE. 



Trajectory, 
inches. 

Above or 
below 
horizontal .. 
Sight allow- 
ance 


25 

3.30 

.38 

2.92 


50 

4.49 
.25 

4.24 


D] 
75 

3.48 
.13 

3.35 


stain 
100 







2e, yards. 
125 

6.38 
.13 

6.25 


Above or 
below line 
of aim .... 



Trajec- 
tory ins. 
Above 


25 


50 


or be- 






low 






hori- 






zontal 


8.84 


15.59 


Sight 
allow- 






ance . . 


.44 


.38 


Above 






or below 






line of 






aim . . . 


8.40 


15.21 



75 



20.12 



.31 



19.81 



Distance, yards. 



100 



22.20 



.25 



21.95 



150 



17.93 



.13 



17.80 



175 



1067 



.06 



10.61 



200 



225 



13.56 



.06 



13.50 



.Everyone now and then makes a hit with the 
.22 at such ranges, but who keeps tally of the 
misses? Flukes are no proof of good marksman- 
ship. No rim-fire .22 has a trajectory enough 
flatter than the above to make any material diff- 
erence in shooting. Further comment is needless. 

Let us examine the curves of some cartridges 



THE FLIGHT OF BULLETS 



that are fit for serious hunting. The heights are 
given in inches and fractional parts : 



TRAJECTORIES 



(TABLE V.) 

OF .32 WINCHESTER 
ING CARTRIDGE. 



SELF-LOAD- 



Muzzle velocity 1,392 feet a second. 



Height of 
curve at 
25 yards 


50 
0.6 


Rang* 
75 
1.3 


2 sighte 
100 
2.0 


i to, in 
150 
3.5 


yards. 
200 
5.2 


300 


50 





1.4 


2.7 


5.8 


9.2 


17.2 


75 ... 


2.0 





2.1 


6.7 


11.8 




100 
125 


5.5 


2.8 
7.2 



3.7 


6.2 
4.0 


13.0 
12.5 


28.8 


150 




13.5 


9.3 





10.1 


34.0 


175 






16.5 


5.6 


6.2 




200 






25.9 


13.5 





31.7 


225 










7.1 




250 ' 










18.1 


21.0 


350 












29.5 



(TABLE VI.) 

TRAJECTORIES OF .30-30, SOFT-NOSE 170 GRAIN 
BULLET. 

Muzzle velocity 2,008 feet a second. 



25 

50 
75 
100 
125 
150 
175 
200 
225 
250 
300 
350 
400 



Height of 
curve at 
yards * 


R 
75 

0.6 


ange si 
100 
0.9 


fhted to 
150 
1.6 


, in yar 
200 

2.4 


ds. 
300 




0.6 


1.2 


2.6 


4.2 


7.7 


t 





1.0 


3.0 


5.4 






1.3 





2.8 


5.9 


12.9 




3.3 


1.7 


1.8 


5.6 






6.1 


4.2 





4.6 


15.2 






7.5 


2.6 


2.8 








11.7 


6.2 





14.2 








10.7 


3.7 










16.2 


8.5 


19.2 










21.2 















14.7 












35.8 



SPORTING FIREARMS 

(TABLE VII.) 

TRAJECTORIES OF .30 U. S., MODEL OF 1906. 
Muzzle velocity 2,700 feet a second. 



Height of 
curve at 
25 yards 


E 
150 
0.8 
1.3 
1.6 
1.4 
0.9 

1.4 
3.1 

7!9 


iange si 
200 
1.2 
2.0 
2.6 
2.9 
2.7 
2.3 
1.3 

1.8 
4.1 
6.8 
10.0 


ghted tc 
300 
2.0 
3.6 
5.0 
6.1 
6.3 
7.1 
6.8 
6.5 
6.2 
4.6 
2.7 

5.7 
14.7 


>, in yar 
400 


ds. 
500 


50 


5.4 


7.6 


75 


100 


9.8 
'"l2.7 


14.1 

io'.i 


125 


150 


175 


200 


14.0 


22.4 


225 


250 


13.6 

"l'l'.2 
8.0 

10.0 
21.5 


24.3 

24.1 
22.4 
17.1 
9.3 

11.4 


275 . .... 


300 




350 




400 






450 






500 








550 









(TABLE VIII.) 

150 YARD TRAJECTORY OF .30 U. S., WITH SIGHT 
ALLOWANCE. 

Top of front sight one inch above axis of bore. 



Trajec- 


Distance, yards. 


tory ins, 


25 


50 


75 


100 


125 


150 


175 


200 


Above or 


















below 


















horizontal. 


0.83 


1.28 


1.55 


1.40 


0.88 





1.36 


3.01 


Sight al- 


















lowance . . 


.84 


.67 


.50 


.33 


.17 





.17 


.33 


Above or 


















below line 


















of aim . . . 


0.01 


0.61 


1.05 


1.07 


0.71 





1.19 


2.68. 



The mean vertical deviation of the ,30 U. S., 
36 



THE FLIGHT OF BULLETS 

'06, service cartridge should be added, pro- 
portionally, to the trajectories, in order to get 
the average height of shots that fly high, and sub- 
tracted for the average of those that go low, for 
no two shots from the same gun describe exactly 
the same curve. 

This is a matter of importance, yet it is seldom 
taken into account. Trajectory figures are trust- 
worthy, provided the gun and cartridge are steady 
performers; otherwise they are not. It is of little 
use to know the average curve of a series of fliers 
and drop-shots. 

In the Forest and Stream trajectory test of 
1885, a .50-95-300 rifle showed an average trajec- 
tory of 1.178 inches midway over the one hundred 
yard range. This was the mean height of five 
consecutive shots, fired from machine rest, through 
a paper screen at fifty yards. A .40-70-330 rifle, 
tested in the same way, gave an average rise of 
2.452 inches at the same distance. If those aver- 
ages alone had been published, most readers would 
have concluded that the curve of the .50 was much 
the best. But the shot-for-shot records showed 
that the .50-95 actually varied 4.29 inches ver- 
tically in those five test shots at fifty yards, where- 
as the .40-70 varied only 0.17 inch in its five shots. 

This is an extreme instance ; still, the difference 
37 



SPORTING FIREARMS 

in vertical deviation between popular cartridges 
of to-day is too great to be overlooked in this con- 
nection. Some will put a long series of shots into 
a four-inch bull'seye at two hundred yards ; others 
will often miss a twelve-inch one. 

Lieutenant Townsend Whelen, U. S. A., one of 
our highest authorities on modern rifles, has shown 
that the .30 Krag cartridge (commonly known as 
the .30-40), and others of the two thousand foot 
class, when charged with soft-nose bullets for hunt- 
ing, will not make a sure hit at more than half the 
range that a .30 U. S. sharp-point will, the arm in 
each case being sighted to its farthest effective 
" point-blank " for deer, no allowance for distance 
being made in aiming. He adds to the trajectory 
of each cartridge its mean vertical deviation over 
the range sighted for, and this is the only fair 
comparison. 

I quite agree with him that accuracy and tra- 
jectory must be considered together, not separ- 
ately, and that makers of guns and ammunition 
should publish the mean radius of shots fired from 
machine rest, as well as the trajectory curve, for 
each cartridge, at various sporting ranges. It is 
by no means satisfactory to say " accurate to (so 
many) yards," or " accurate enough for hunting 
purposes." The buyer is the man to define what 

38 



THE FLIGHT OF BULLETS 

"accurate" means, and he should have definite 
measurements to compare by. 

If a gun adds to a man's error of holding a quite 
appreciable error of its own, it is fit for nothing 
but the scrap heap. If high velocity could only be 
attained by sacrificing precision of fire, it would 
not be worth having. It is entirely practicable 
nowadays to make rifles and ammunition (of any 
caliber and any reasonable power) so accurate 
that they will shoot as close as a good marksman 
can hold, under favorable field conditions. No 
lower standard than this should be accepted for 
any rifle. 



39 



CHAPTER III 

KILLING POWER 

THE all-round effectiveness of a bullet de- 
pends upon its penetration and the shock it 
imparts. Penetration is determined chiefly 
by the length of bullet in calibers and its resistance 
to deformation. Other things being equal, the 
longer the bullet the deeper it will pierce. Shock 
depends upon energy spent in the blow and upon 
area and nature of wound. 

In comparing the killing power of different 
charges we have one definite datum to start with: 
the muzzle energy of the bullet. Energy is ex- 
pressed in foot-pounds, which means the force re- 
quired to lift so many pounds one foot from the 
ground. Energy varies directly as the bullet's 
weight and as the square of its velocity. Speed, 
then, is of greater consequence than weight of bul- 
let. For example : 

Weight 

of bullet. Muzzle velocity. Muzzle energy. 

150 grains. 1,500 feet a second. 750 foot-pounds. 

300 grains. 1,500 feet a second. 1,499 foot-pounds. 

150 grains, 3,000 feet a second. 2,998 foot-pounds. 

40 



KILLING POWER 

In this instance, doubling the weight only 
doubles the energy; but doubling the speed quad- 
ruples the energy. Notice that caliber has noth- 
ing to do with this. Weight and velocity deter- 
mine the resulting energy, no matter what the cali- 
ber may be. 

But game is seldom shot at the muzzle of the 
gun. The energy we are interested in is energy at 
point of impact, wherever that may be. Bullets 
differ very much in the degree to which they main- 
tain or lose speed and energy. The 200-grain 
bullet of a .401 self-loader (very short and bluff) 
loses thirty-five per cent of its energy in going only 
one hundred yards; the 300-grain .405 (medium 
length and taper) loses twenty-six per cent; the 
150-grain .30 sharp-point U. S. bullet (relatively 
longer, and with fine taper) loses but sixteen and 
one-half per cent energy in the same distance. 
Here is another reason for observing critically the 
length of bullet in calibers (i. e., length in propor- 
tion to diameter) when choosing a cartridge. 

Let us now compare the muzzle energies of the 
leading hunting cartridges, this being the first step 
toward estimating their relative efficiency in hunt- 
ing. I have selected fifty or more standard ones, 
ranging from the weakest to the most powerful 
that are used in magazine arms at the date of this 

41 



SPORTING FIREARMS 

writing. Just now we are entering a new era of 
military and sporting firearms. Improved am- 
munition of American design will probably be on 
the market before long. Meantime, in order to be 
up-to-date, I must use a number of foreign ones 
for illustration of recent progress in ammunition 
for big game. 

In classifying cartridges under the three heads 
of big game, medium game, and small game am- 
munition, I have drawn the dividing lines at two 
thousand and at seven hundred foot-pounds muzzle 
energy, respectively. Judging from results ob- 
served in the field, I think this rating is as fair as 
any arbitrary standard can be. Much, of course, 
depends upon local conditions and the method of 
hunting. The .25-35, for example, is an excellent 
little cartridge for all-round use in a country where 
turkeys or geese and small mammals are the com- 
monest game, yet where deer and black bear are 
met now and then. If deer and bear were plenti- 
ful enough to be the main object of chase, one 
would prefer a cartridge of greater energy. 

When a man is hunting sheep, goats, or elk, with 
possible grizzlies as a side issue, the .30 U. S. could 
be recommended without question. If he were 
making a specialty of grizzlies, or of the more 
formidable Alaskan or polar bears, he might do 

42 



KILLING POWER 

well to accept the burden and kick of a .333 or 
a .425. The largest game on this continent has 
been killed by thousands with rifles using am- 
munition that I class as " medium game." I 
have known an Arkansas hunter who was credited 
with having killed over five hundred black bears in 
the brakes and cypress sloughs surrounding his 
own plantation, and he would scarcely touch any 
other rifle than the .32-20 Winchester model of 
1873, which is here rated as for small game. 

Three weeks ago, one of my hunting partners, 
while trout fishing, came upon a two-year-old bear 
in the thicket. He knocked it down by a lucky 
throw of a stone no bigger than a billiard ball, 
hitting the beast at butt of the ear, and finished it 
with his pocket knife. Some years earlier, an- 
other partner of mine, within a mile of this same 
place, shot a small bear in the head with a .44-40 
and jumped into the scrimmage to kick his dogs 
loose. The bear was practically unhurt and 
turned on him. " Doc " conquered, but he came 
to me in a condition that he described as " nigh 
breechless." One can draw his own inferences 
about proper weapons for bears. 

The ballistics of this or that cartridge vary 
somewhat according to the factory loading it. 
Where this variation is considerable, I give the 



SPORTING FIREARMS 

data supplied by different ammunition companies. 
The following abbreviations are used: C7. M. C. 9 
Union Metallic Cartridge Co.; U. S. 9 United 
States Cartridge Co. ; Win., Winchester Repeating 
Arms Co.; B., blunt headed bullet (whether 
rounded or flat tipped) ; S., sharp-point bullet. 
Ballistics of foreign cartridges are those of for- 
eign, not domestic, loading. Length of bullet 
may be judged from its weight, as contrasted with 
others of the same caliber. 



BIG GAME CARTRIDGES. 



Bullet 
grains. 
Caliber, 

inch. Cartridge. 

.256 (6.5 mm.) Mauser and Mannl 157 

.256 6.5 mm.) Mauser and Mannl 139 

.256 (6.5mm.) Mannlicher-Schoenauer . 123. 

.278 (7 mm.) Mauser and Mannl 173 

.278 (7 mm.) Mauser and Mannl 154 

.278 (7 mm.) Mauser and Mannl 139 

.280 Ross 140 

.280 Ross 160 

.30 Krag, '98 (.30-40) 220 

.30 Krag, Hudson-Thomas 202 

.30 U. S., '06, service 150 

.30 U. S., match 172 

.315 (8 mm.) Mauser and Mannl 236 

.315 (8 mm.) Mauser and Mannl 154 

.315 8 mm.) Mannlicher-Schoenauer., 244 
.315 (8 mm.) Mannlicher-Schoenauer. . .170 

.333 Jeffery-Mauser 250 

.35 Win., model 1895 250 

.350 Rigby-Mauser 225 

44 



M.Vel. M.En. 
ft.secs. ft.lbs. 



B. 


2313 


1960 


S. 


2887 


2585 


S. 


2592 


1845 


B. 


2231 


2025 


S. 


2740 


2568 


S. 


2920 


2632 


S. 


3150 


3095 


S. 


2950 


3088 


B. 


2005 


1972 


S. 


2160 


2094 


S. 


2700 


2429 


S. 


2580 


2540 


B. 


2034 


2221 


S. 


2882 


2823 


B. 


2165 


2540 


S. 


2411 


2199 


S. 


2600 


4200 


B. 


2200 


2687 


S. 


2572 


3306 



KILLING POWER 

.355 (9mm.) Mannlicher 281 B. 2100 2700 

.401 Win., self-loader 200 B. 2142 2038 

.401 Win., self-loader 250 B. 1875 1952 

.405 Win., model 1895 300 B. 2204 3237 

.413 (10.5mm.) Mannlicher 309 B. 2230 2935 

.425 Westley Richards-Mauser 410 S. 2350 5022 

.441 (llmm.) Mauser 322 B. 2461 3969 



MEDIUM GAME CARTRIDGES. 



.22 High Power Savage 68 


B. 


2800 


1200 




.25-35 Win. and Savage 117 


B. 


2030 


1070 




.25-35 Rem., Stand., Stev 117 


B. 


2127 


1175 




.25-35 Rem., Stand., self-load- 










ing 101 


S. 


2275 


1158 




.25-36 Marlin 117 


B. 


1855 


893 


U.M.C. 


.30-30 Win., Marl., Sav 170 


B. 


2008 


1522 




.30-30 Rem., Stand., Stev 170 


B. 


2020 


1540 




.30-30 Rem., Stand., self-load- 










ing 151 


S. 


2020 


1450 




.303 Savage 195 


B. 


1952 


1658 


U.M.C. 


.32-40 Win., Marl., Sav., H.V..165 


B. 


2065 


1558 


U.M.C. 


.32-40 Win., Marl., Sav., H.V..165 


B. 


1752 


1125 


Win. 


.32 Special Win. and Marl 165 


B. 


2112 


1684 




.32 Rem., Stand., Stev 165 


B. 


2057 


1550 




.32 Win., self-loading 165 


B. 


1392 


710 




.33 Win 200 


B. 


2056 


1878 




.35 Rem., Stand., Stev 200 


B. 


2000 


1776 




.35 Rem., Stand., self-loading. 170 


S. 


2050 


1585 




.35 Win., self-loading 180 


B. 


1396 


779 




.351 Win., self-loading 180 


B. 


1861 


1385 




.38-55 Win., Marl., Sav., H.V..255 


B. 


1700 


1635 


U.M.C. 


.38-55 Win., Marl., Sav., H.V..255 


B. 


1593 


1437 


Win. 


.40-65 Win. and Marl., H.V 253 


B. 


1790 


1800 





SMALL GAME CARTRIDGES. 

.22 short, rim-fire SOB. 900 54 U.M.C. 

.22 short, rim-fire 30 B. 975 63 U.M.C. 

.22 long, rim-fire 30 B. 1000 66 

.22 long-rifle and armory, rim- 
fire 40 B. 1100 108 

.22 long-rifle, smokeless, rim-fire 40 B. 983 86 

45 



SPORTING FIREARMS 



.22 automatic, rim-fire 45 B. 


1036 


107 U.M.C. 


.22 automatic, rim-fire 45 B. 


1000 


100 U.S. 


.22 automatic, rim-fire 45 B. 


903 


82 Win. 


.22-7 Win., rim fire model 1890. . 45 B. 


1150 


132 U.S. 


.22-7 Win., rim fire model 1890. . 45 B. 


1107 


123 Win. 


.22-7 Win., rim fire model 1890. . 45 B. 


1036 


107 U.M.C. 


.22-13-45 Win., center-fire 45 B. 


1541 


237 


.25 Stevens, rim-fire 67 B. 


1161 


201 


.25-20 Win., single-shot 86 B. 


1468 


412 


.25-20 Win., & Marl., repeater. 86 B. 


1547 


457 U.M.C. 


.25-20 Win., & Marl., repeater. 86 B. 


1376 


362 Win. 


.25-20 Win., & Marl., repeater, 






H. V 86 B. 


1711 


560 


.32-20 Win., & Marl 100 B. 


1325 


390 U.M.C. 


.32-20 Win., & Marl 115 B. 


1222 


382 Win. 


.32-20 Win., & Marl., H. V....100 B. 


1575 


551 U.M.C. 


.32-20 Win., & Marl., H. V....115 B. 


1640 


690 Win. 



One material fact that shows conspicuously in 
these tables is that caliber alone is no gauge of 
power. Let the novice rid himself, once and for 
all, of the notion that a big bore necessarily means 
a powerful rifle and a small bore means a weak 
one. This never was true, even in the days of 
round bullets. As far back as the American 
Revolution our frontiersmen of the Alleghanies 
discovered and adopted the " express " system of 
driving small bullets at very high speed, thus 
getting the maximum efficiency out of a given 
weight of lead. 

In our tables of modern ammunition we see a 
.35 caliber Winchester of 779 foot-pounds muzzle 
energy, and another .35 Winchester of 2,687 foot- 
pounds. The former is rather light .for deer 

46 



KILLING POWER 

shooting, and the latter will knock out a grizzly 
bear. Again, we note a bullet of only .256 inch 
diameter and 139 grains weight, that has a muzzle 
energy of 2,585 foot-pounds, which is much 
greater than that of any .45 or .50 caliber cart- 
ridge loaded with black gunpowder that ever was 
used in a repeating arm. It attains this power by 
a muzzle velocity of 2,887 feet a second. 

We come, now, to a matter of caliber that does 
affect killing power. It is not the normal diam- 
eter of the bullet, but its diameter when expanded 
by impact. This latter factor determines, in 
great degree, how much of the projectile's energy 
will actually be utilized in shocking the thing 
struck. Here is where the question of big bores 
vs. small bores really hinges. 

The pressure and heat of smokeless powder 
and the quick twist of rifling required by modern 
arms compel us to use bullets wholly or partly 
encased in jackets of hard metal. The fault of a 
f ull- j acketed bullet is that, unless driven at ex- 
tremely high speed, it only punches a small hole 
through a beast, piercing so easily that it does 
not expend much of its energy on the object 
struck, but wastes it in flight beyond. Such a 
missile can pass close to a vital organ without 
disturbing it, close to a nerve without severely 

47 



SPORTING FIREARMS 

shocking it, close to a blood vessel without rup- 
turing it. The hole of exit is little if any larger 
than that of entrance, and both of them contract 
so as not to let out blood. 

A good bullet for hunting any big game except 
the greater pachyderms is one that will expand 
when it hits, and still hold together so as to pene- 
trate deeply. Such a bullet " pulps " tissue all 
around its course, drives body fluids violently 
away from it, smashes bones instead of drilling 
them, paralyzes nerves, and either imparts its full 
blow by stopping in the body or tears a big hole of 
exit through which the life-blood rapidly drains. 
This sounds gruesome, but in fact it is humane; 
for the quicker a beast is knocked down and dis- 
patched, the better it is for all concerned. 

To make a manteled bullet expand on impact, 
its tip must be so modified as to open and let part 
of the lead core flatten out. In a full-jacketed 
bullet the metal casing does not cover the butt 
end. If the tip, then, is split or filed across, there 
is risk of the lead core being blown forward and 
through it, stripping the jacket and perhaps lodg- 
ing it in the gun barrel. If this happens, and is 
not discovered before the next shot, the barrel 
will either be bulged or burst. Special bullets are 
manufactured abroad that have the head split 

48 



KILLING POWER 

back of the tip (fig. <5) leaving the latter intact. 




FIGURE 6. 

Their effectiveness depends upon so many con- 
tingencies that they are scarcely to be recom- 
mended. 

Hollow bullets have been employed for many 
years. If driven to low speed the cavity must 
be deep (fig. /) to insure expansion; if at higher 
speed, it must be shallower (fig. 8) or the missile 




FlGUBE 7. FlGUBE 8. 

will spread prematurely and fly to fragments, 
making only a superficial wound. For cartridges 
of great velocity the hollow must be shallow (fig. 
p) and backed by a long core of lead. In such 




FIGURE 9. 

case a plug, wedge, or steel ball (Hoxie bullet) 

49 



SPORTING FIREARMS 

may be fitted into the mouth of the cavity to 
compel the tip to spread when its hits. 

In general it may be said of hollow bullets that 
they are ill-balanced and therefore inaccurate at 
any but short range. Their action is uncertain, 
because velocity depends upon range, animals 
vary a great deal in toughness of hide and tissue, 
and a hollow bullet that would merely flatten on 
flesh or viscera might fly to flinders on bone. 

Up to date, the favorite expanding bullet in 
our country is what is called the " soft-nose " 
(figs. JO, 12). This is solid throughout, but 





FIGURE 10. FIGURE 12. 

has the base covered by the hard metal envelope 
and the tip left with more or less of the lead core 
exposed. A well proportioned and well made 
bullet of this sort generally gives satisfaction. Its 
expansion depends upon how much lead is left 
naked at the tip, this being regulated according 
to the velocity of impact. It will not do to ex- 
pose too much of it, nor to make the tip flat, be- 
cause such a ball is easily deformed and is prone to 
jam when fed upward at ajslant from the maga- 

50 



KILLING POWER 

zine; neither will it fly accurately, nor with nor- 
mal speed. 

A short soft-nose bullet (fig. 10) is not so reli- 
able as a long one (fig. 12), because it upsets 
throughout so much of its length (fig. Il) that it 




FIGURE 11. 



is prone to go to pieces, especially on bone, and 
fail to pierce deep enough. A long bullet mush- 
rooms at the tip only (fig. 7j) and has a solid 




FIGURE 13. 

cylinder back of it to drive ahead. Thickness of 
jacket modifies such action a good deal; also soft- 
ness or hardness of the leaden core. 

Any soft-nose bullet should have its length, 
strength of mantel, and temper and relative ex- 
posure of tip carefully proportioned to the power 
of the gun and the character of game hunted; 
otherwise it will not give satisfaction. Soft-nose 

51 



SPORTING FIREARMS 

bullets of Spitzer shape, to be propelled at very 
high speed, have but little of the point left naked 
(fig. 14). They are more likely to be accurate 
fliers than round-headed ones. 




FIGURE 14. 

The fact that the base of a soft-nose is covered 
by the metal envelope affects its upsettage on fir- 
ing. Hence it may be advisable to make such 
bullets a trifle super-caliber, to insure that they 
seal the bore gas-tight when they issue from the 
cartridge shell. Lack of care in this respect ac- 
counts, I think, for much of the inaccuracy that 
has been observed with bullets of this class. 

Recently a capped bullet has been introduced 
(fig. 15) consisting of a cylindrical core of lead 




FIGURE 15. 

encased in hard metal, dished out in front like the 
" man-stopper " revolver bullet, and covered at 
the head with a hollow cap of thin copper. It 
expands with certainty, yet holds together and 

52 



KILLING POWER 

penetrates well, inflicting a very severe wound. 
In Spitzer bullets the cap is pointed and the front 
of core has a shallow cavity (fig. 1(5). 




FIGUEE 16. 

Until further reports are received from the 
field, covering all kinds of big game hunting, it is 
too early to determine whether the expanding prin- 
ciple should or should not be applied to Spitzer 
bullets for general hunting. The sharp-point 
bullet, with its high velocity, has revolutionized 
military ammunition and is likely to do the same 
for sporting arms of all calibers. When used in 
proper barrels it is the most accurate missile 
known. It maintains speed and energy so much 
better than those with rounded or ogival head that 
ballistic tables employed in the old way will not 
serve to calculate its curve of flight, which is 
much lower than that of an old-style projectile of 
the same caliber, same weight, and same muzzle 
velocity. 

More extraordinary still is the fact that instead 
of the sharp-point penetrating bone or tissue more 
easily and with less disruption of channel, as we 
naturally would expect, it will, when striking at 

53 



SPORTING FIREARMS 

very high speed, smash and pulp a considerable 
area around the bullet's course, thereby deliver- 
ing a paralyzing, knock-out blow. It is the full- 
jacketed Spitzer of which I speak the regular 
military pattern. 

At the extreme speed of close quarters it is 
checked or stopped by less thickness of flesh or 
bone than at long range. If it goes through, the 
wound of exit is large and lacerated. All this de- 
pends upon very high velocity, the minimum re- 
quired for knock-out effect seeming to be about 
2,000 feet a second at point of impact (not muzzle 
of gun) which corresponds to a range of 300 yards 
with the .30 Springfield-Mauser* used by our army 
and navy. At low speed the Spitzer merely drills 
a small hole, like that of the older military bullet. 

To sum up: energy actually utilized in shock 
depends upon resistance offered by the animal's 
body. Resistance, so far as the missile is con- 
cerned, depends upon (1) the size to which the 
bullet mushrooms, or (2) upon the speed of bullet 
being so high that tissues and body fluids can- 
not give way easily to let the projectile pass, but 

* I call our service arm the Springfield-Mauser because 
it is a Mauser action slightly modified by our ordnance 
board. A second-hand gun of another kind has recently 
been marketed under the trade name of " Springfield- 
Mauser," which will not take our service ammunition and 
js inferior in every respect. 

54 



KILLING POWER 

set up a sudden and violent pressure all around 
the neighborhood of the wound, with consequent 
shattering effect over a large area. 

A large bullet is more effective than a small one 
provided that its velocity is correspondingly 
great and that it is not too short to maintain 
energy and hold together so as to penetrate. 
The minimum length permissible, in calibers, that 
I mentioned in Chapter I, is a good rule-of-thumb 
by which to judge force as well as accuracy. In 
case of doubt, use a still longer bullet. Short 
bullets are not fit to use on any but soft-skinned 
game, and then only at short range. To trust 
them on dangerous beasts is folly. 

American riflemen of the old school inclined 
toward very light charges. There was a time 
when game was so plentiful and (relatively) so 
unwary that a hunter generally had a fair chance 
to display exquisite marksmanship the art of the 
nail-driver at the short ranges that were then 
the rule. 

Conditions change. We take running shots 
nowadays and long shots that our forefathers 
would have considered foolish. In such hunting 
it is utterly impossible to " put the bullet in the 
right place " so unfailingly as of yore. To be 
humane, then to be sportsmen instead of butchers 

55 



SPORTING FIREARMS 

and bunglers we must use charges of much 
greater power than were customary a quarter of a 
century ago. This we still can do with small 
bores, owing to improved ammunition. 

The advantages of a small bore are plain: a 
light and handy weapon, comfortable in the saddle 
or on an all-day tramp, light ammunition, moder- 
ate recoil, low trajectory, fine accuracy, and effi- 
ciency to the farthest sporting ranges. 

Having spoken at length of big game ammuni- 
tion, I may add a few words on the much simpler 
matter of cartridges for small game. 

The .22 short, of good make, is very accurate 
up to thirty-five yards, but unreliable beyond 
fifty. Its proper use is for miniature target prac- 
tice and exterminating vermin. To employ so 
feeble a charge on squirrels, rabbits, or game 
birds is cruel, because many will escape in crippled 
condition. The .22 long is not so accurate and 
has no superior merit of any kind, the difference 
in trajectory and killing power between it and the 
.22 short being microscopic. 

The .22 long-rifle is the most accurate rim-fire 
cartridge of its caliber. Varieties of it called 
armory cartridges, and known as the .22 Krag, .22 
U. S., and .22 Stevens-Pope, differ only in hav- 
ing the bullet firmly seated in the shell so as not 

56 



KILLING POWER 

to pull out in the barrel throat when a loaded cart- 
ridge is ejected a distinct advantage. The .22 
automatic is of variable merit, as will be seen in 
the table. The best rim-fire hunting cartridge of 
this caliber is the .22-7 Winchester, model of 
1890. It is accurate to one hundred and fifty 
yards and has considerably greater killing power 
than either of the others ; in fact it is the only .22 
rim-fire that should be used on game larger than 
squirrels. 

For turkeys, geese, and the lesser animals, noth- 
ing under a .25 caliber should be used, unless 
it be the .22-15-60 Stevens, which is limited to 
single-loaders, or the new .22 high power. The 
.25-20 is a standard charge for such game when 
hunted near settlements. 

A much better cartridge, wherever it can safely 
be used, is the .25-35. This is the most accurate 
medium power charge of the 2,000 foot-second 
class that we have at present and gives but half 
the recoil of a .30-30. It is far more reliable in 
windy weather than a .25-20. With a telescope 
sight on the rifle, sharpshooting at geese and other 
wary game can be practiced with deadly effect at 
two hundred yards, or even farther. 

The .22 high-power cartridge, recently intro- 
duced, has not been standarized at the time of this 

57 



SPORTING FIREARMS 

writing. Its ballistics, as given in my table, are 
subject to modification. It is a striking example 
of the killing power of a very small, solid, sharp- 
point bullet, when driven at great speed. Al- 
though the missile weighs only 68 grains, it is 
more destructive than the 180-grain bullet of a 
.35 Winchester self-loader; and it is also more 
accurate. 



CHAPTER IV 

RIFLE MECHANISMS AND MATERIALS 

THE typical sporting rifle of to-day is a re- 
peating arm. Repeaters are classified ac- 
cording to form of magazine and system 
of breech mechanism. 

A tubular magazine under the barrel has sev- 
eral defects and no compensating merits. It is 
needlessly cumbersome and complicated, easily in- 
jured, awkward to recharge, prone to make a rifle 
jam in feeding. The position of the cartridge, 
end to end, is unsafe in principle. Soft-nose 
bullets are battered or scraped, and sharp-points 
cannot be used at all, in a tubular magazine. The 
balance and symmetry of the gun are spoiled. 

A box magazine, with cartridges superimposed, 
has none of these faults. But if it protrudes 
much in front of the trigger guard it is unsightly 
and always in the way. Since it sticks out at 
the very point where a gun should balance, it will 
be a wearying annoyance on every all-day trip. 

A revolving magazine inside the receiver is a 
59 



SPORTING FIREARMS 

further improvement. It is somewhat bothersome 
to recharge, hard to unload, and occasionally may 
balk in feeding. 

Decidedly the best magazine is a flat one within 
the receiver, flush with the forearm, carrying 
cartridges in double column, and charged either 
by clips or by dropping the cartridges in and 
settling them to place by one or two slight motions 
of a finger lever. 

Whatever the system of magazine, there should 
be a cut-off whereby the arm can be used as a 
single-loader, so that special ammunition may be 
used when desired, with a magazine full of regular 
cartridges in reserve. 

As regards method of operating, magazine rifles 
are either trombone action, lever action, bolt ac- 
tion or self-loading arms. 

The trombone action with sliding forearm 
("pump gun") can be fired faster, with good 
aim, than any other repeater that is operated by 
hand. It is the only system, except the self- 
loader, that can compete with a double barrel in 
getting in a quick and sure second shot. In rifles 
it is the best hand-functioned mechanism for small 
cartridges. For heavy charges it is not reliable, 
since it has not enough power to feed and extract 
refractory cartridges. It is too frail for weapons 

60 



MECHANISMS AND MATERIALS 

that are to be taken into rough service in remote 
regions. 

Lever actions vary a good deal in merit. As a 
class, they are quite satisfactory for ammunition 
of medium power, and in arms that are to be used 
only on short and easy trips. If the bolt is closed 
by double locking bolts near head of cartridge, as 
in the ? 86 model Winchester, the action will with- 
stand any strain that a barrel can stand. If, 
however, there is but one locking bolt, and it in the 
rear, there will be a certain spring or play of the 
bolt proper which affects accuracy. It is unreli- 
able in case of a defective high-power cartridge or 
an unnoticed obstruction in the barrel. In some 
actions of this character the lever, being held only 
friction-tight, soon wears shackly and sags in a 
most annoying way. 

Both lever and trombone actions are prone to 
jam, especially if the rifle be uptilted in reload- 
ing, as when one lowers his rifle from the shoulder 
while working the lever or slide. Such balks 
generally occur at the worst possible moment. 
I have had this happen with a brand new weapon 
at the second shot. While I was prying at the 
cartridge a deer actually stopped as if to hear 
what I had to say about the matter. Then it 
took genuine alarm. 

61 



SPORTING FIREARMS 

Nearly all rifles that operate by lever or trom- 
bone slide are complicated, hard to take apart for 
cleaning or repair, and hard to reassemble. 
There is a multitude of small parts that are likely 
to roll away and be lost while you are struggling 
to fit things together. You must have two or 
three screwdrivers and a pin punch to work with. 
The j ob will take from half an hour to half a day, 
depending upon whether you happen to have 
printed instructions to go by or only the light of 
nature and average awkwardness. Of course, if 
your hunting range is near home, accidents will 
be few and the gunsmith handy; but if you are 
forty miles from Nowhere, with a gun that has 
dropped in the mud, or in the water, or has got 
sanded, or has snapped off a spring, or broken 
a firing-pin, and you have no tool to work with 
but the file you sharpen your axe with then is 
the time that good little deer should not stop to 
listen. 

No lever or trombone action can be cleaned 
from the breech (the only way that a good rifle 
should be cleaned) unless it has a detachable bar- 
rel. The common pattern of take-down works 
by an interrupted screw at the breech. The bar- 
rel thereby is weakened at the very point where 
it should be strongest. Such a mechanism will 

62 



MECHANISMS AND MATERIALS 

soon wear shaky. I have yet to see a take-down 
action that is trustworthy for big game rifles. 

In this connection it may be remarked that 
everybody hates to clean a gun when he comes in 
at night, fagged out from a hard day's chase. 
The easier the gun is to clean, the likelier it is 
to be cleaned. And a night or two of neglect may 
ruin the finest rifle in the world. 

It is significant that no lever or trombone ac- 
tion has ever passed a modern ordnance board 
or been adopted by any civilized army. While 
the requirements of rifles for small game and tar- 
get practice are less stringent than for those 
built for military service, there is no difference 
at all between those of big game rifles and mili- 
tary ones, as regards strength, simplicity, ease 
of dismounting, and certainty of working prop- 
erly in any emergency. There was a time when 
ordnance boards were conservative to a fault, 
and when private manufacturers took the lead in 
improving firearms, but that time has past. The 
sportsman of to-day who goes far into wild re- 
gions, and who must depend upon his rifle at times 
to preserve his life, should give close heed to the 
latest and best in military weapons, for the high- 
est technical skill in the world is engaged on that 
class of firearms. 

63 



SPORTING FIREARMS 

Bolt action repeaters of the best military or 
semi-military type are simple, strong, durable, 
and sure to function. In such a weapon the bolt 
can be slipped out in a second, so that the bar- 
rel can be inspected and cleaned from the breech. 
The entire working mechanism can be taken apart 
with the fingers, or, at most, with a single screw- 
driver or key. There are but few parts, and all 
of them amply strong. Coiled springs, prac- 
tically unbreakable, take the place of flat springs 
that always are treacherous. 

A bolt action locks with two lugs immediately 
behind the cartridge head, and there is a third, 
or even a fourth, lug in the rear. Such closure 
will withstand the breech pressure of any cart- 
ridge. The extractor is equal to any strain. 
Since the extractor engages the head of the shell 
before feeding into the chamber, a refractory cart- 
ridge can be ejected instantly instead of having 
to be pried out. A bolt action works better than 
any other when the arm has become foul from 
grit, as is bound to occur at times in sandy coun- 
tries. Finally, all bolt actions of recent model 
have flush magazines, easy to recharge, and the 
best of them are supplied with cut-offs. 

The only objection urged against bolt actions 
is that they are awkward to manipulate and slow 

64 



MECHANISMS AND MATERIALS 

in repeating. This is largely a matter of habit. 
A man shoots best with the action he is used to. 
Anyone who watches soldiers in their skirmish 
runs and rapid fire practice can see that the com- 
mon military bolt can be worked fast enough for 
almost any emergency that may happen in hunt- 
ing. For the extremely rapid work sometimes 
needed in the close quarters of thicket or jungle 
shooting, where a rifle is not aimed but pointed, 
as one would point a shotgun or a revolver, a self- 
loader ranks first, with the straight-pull bolt a 
close second, the lever action third, and the bolt of 
four motions a lagging fourth. Here, however, 
we should consider that a quick first shot of great 
smashing power is generally worth more than 
three or four hits rained with ammunition of low 
or medium power; that very quick repeating is 
almost never done with any but weak ammunition ; 
and that the bolt action handles powerful charges 
better than any other repeater. 

In my opinion, the only speed of fire, with rifles 
that is worth considering is speed of aimed fire. 
No kind of gun can deliver a second shot accur- 
ately until both it and its user have recovered 
equilibrium. The time required to catch fresh 
aim will depend upon how hard the gun recoils. 
With weak ammunition that gives practically no 

65 



SPORTING FIREARMS 

recoil, the only disturbance to be corrected is 
that caused by operating the gun's mechanism. 
When powerful charges are used in aimed fire, 
the straight-pull bolt is quickest, and between the 
lever and the turn-down bolt there is little diff- 
erence. 

This brings us naturally to the topic of self- 
loading arms. It is claimed that they " absorb " 
much of the recoil. With present-day patterns 
I do not find it so. The shock is more of a push 
than a kick, but it disturbs aim just as much, 
with cartridge of given power. So long as a self- 
loader is used only with weak ammunition it can 
be fired a little faster, with good aim, than any 
other mechanism; but it is not yet made to handle 
really first-class ammunition for big game or 
military purposes. I do not regard the extra 
quickness of the self-loader as of so much value 
as another merit that seldom is considered, 
namely: its noiselessness in recharging. If 
one's first shot misses, the animal is likely 
to pause for an instant, listening and scent- 
ing to get the direction of danger. Then 
the clank clank of a hand-operated arm tells 
just what the beast wants to know: whereupon it 
is off on the jump, and you have lost the chance 
of a standing shot. 

66 



MECHANISMS AND MATERIALS 

The objections that have been made against 
lever and trombone actions apply with yet greater 
force to self-loaders as we know them to-day. 
Glancing backward over the history of firearms, 
one will observe that from muzzle-loaders to 
breech-loaders, from single-shot arms to maga- 
zine guns, from hand-operated repeaters to our 
so-called automatics, every gain in rapidity of 
fire has been made, at first, by sacrificing the 
more essential merits of simplicity, reliability, and 
power. 

Our self-loading rifles just now are in this ex- 
perimental stage. They are good enough for 
light work in the neighborhood of settlements, or 
as auxiliaries when one has a ship or a caravan 
to fall back on; but as weapons for hard service 
they do not compare with a first-class bolt action 
rifle using the best type of ammunition for big 
game. None the less, we all expect the " auto- 
matic " to win in the end ; and few of us would 
be surprised to learn to-morrow that the thing 
was done. 

I repeat that the faults of lever and trombone 
actions, self-loaders, and this or that style of 
magazine, are not of serious consequence so long 
as the guns are used with ammunition of moderate 
power and in regions where repairs can easily be 

67 



SPORTING FIREARMS 

made. Mechanically, and from a strictly im- 
partial standpoint, the bolt action is the highest 
development of rifle construction at the time of 
this writing. Lever and trombone are out-of- 
date for all but light work, and auto-loaders are 
ahead of the times. But mechanical perfection 
is not the only point to be noted in a general re- 
view of present-day arms. Most of our people 
still prefer the older models, partly because we 
are used to them, and partly because they hap- 
pen to be cheaper. 

Here we should consider that the rifle trade in 
America is on a different basis from that of any 
other manufacturing country. In no other 
civilized nation are sporting firearms so generally 
owned and used by all classes of people. Prob- 
ably nine male Americans out of ten, of military 
age, own guns of one sort or another. New 
rifles, shotguns, and revolvers or pistols, are sold 
by the myriad every year. It follows, as a mat- 
ter of course, that the chief demand here is for 
" a cheap gun that will do the work." And it 
follows, as a matter of business, that our home 
gunmakers turn out the best cheap guns in the 
world. They also make, for those who will pay 
the price, as good shotguns as can be found any- 
where, and revolvers that are simply peerless. 

68 



MECHANISMS AND MATERIALS 

We cannot say the same for our rifles. The de- 
mand for really first-class rifles has not yet 
reached the proportions that justify large ex- 
penditures to produce them. It is growing so 
rapidly, however, that one may expect decided im- 
provements within the next ten years. Among 
our better informed sportsmen it already is in- 
sistent. Many of them purchase foreign weapons. 
Others take our excellent Springfield-Mauser to 
a master gunmaker and have it made over into as 
fine a sporting rifle for American game as man 
could reasonably desire, the cost, all told, being 
in the neighborhood of forty or fifty dollars. 
They consider it rather absurd to put up with 
a fifteen or twenty dollar rifle to hunt moose or 
bear with, when . they cheerfully pay fifty for a 
shotgun to hunt quail with. And certainly they- 
get their money's worth. 

Without finding fault with low-price rifles that 
" do the work " remarkably well, let us consider 
the points of a thoroughly well made rifle which 
can be turned out at a higher, but still reasonable, 
cost. 

First, the barrel, which is by all odds, the most 
important part of the gun. In the day of black 
gunpowder our best rifle barrels were made from 
mild steel that was so soft it could fairly be cut 

69 



SPORTING FIREARMS 

with a knife. Such metal was so easy to machine 
that good barrels could be turned out very rapidly 
and with little hand finishing; hence they were 
cheap, but shot as accurately as any. Smoke- 
less powder required stronger material, and 
j acketed bullets required harder metal. This was 
supplied by the commercial nickle-steel of our 
day, harder to work than the soft steel it replaced, 
but still capable of being turned out in much the 
same way. Common nickle-steel will do for cart- 
ridges of the " medium game " class mentioned in 
a previous chapter; but when it is employed with 
ammunition of the " big game " or military class, 
there is trouble. 

The trouble comes from erosion of the rifle 
bore. It has been assumed by riflemen generally 
that the erosion that cuts down the " accuracy 
life " of their barrels to a thousand rounds or so 
is caused by the excessive friction of jacketed bul- 
lets, unlubricated, driven at high speed through 
the rifle bore. If this were true, the wear would 
be fairly uniform throughout the bore, or might 
be greatest toward the muzzle, where the bullet 
gets its highest velocity. Such is not the case. 
Erosion always is greatest immediately in front 
of the neck of the chamber, where the bullet starts. 
Instead of being uniform, it begins with slight pits 

70 



MECHANISMS AND MATERIALS 

which then are guttered out in irregular channels. 

The gutters slowly deepen, and still more slowly 
creep forward up the bore. By the time they 
have advanced about two inches beyond the neck 
of the chamber they have deepened so much that 
a bullet leaving its cartridge shell has room to 
tilt before taking the rifling, and is deformed, per- 
haps has its jacket split, before entering the per- 
fect part of the barrel. This damage is done by 
the gases of explosion of nitro powder, which are 
so hot that ordinary steel cannot stand the tem- 
perature. At first a little of this gas escapes 
around the bullet before it has gone far enough 
to seal the bore, and so the pits form. As the 
eroded portion extends, more gus escapes ahead, 
and more guttering results. 

A barrel of ordinary nickle-steel will lose a,c- 
curacy quite perceptibly after 1,000 rounds of 
the 5 03 U. S. ammunition (220-grain bullet), or 
even after 500 rounds, if the barrel happens to 
be a little above caliber. After, say, 3,000 
rounds, it will shoot quite wild, notwithstanding 
that the forward nine-tenths of the bore may re- 
main virtually intact. Such steel is strong 
enough to stand the breech pressure, and perhaps 
hard enough to resist bullet friction, but it will 
not stand the superheated gases of explosion, 

71 



SPORTING FIREARMS 

The remedy, in so far as the gun is concerned, 
is two-fold. First a special compressed steel 
should be used, or a tungsten-steel, or other alloy 
that will resist the combined attack of friction 
and great heat. Second, the barrel should be 
throated so that the bullet fits as snugly as prac- 
ticable at the start, and no other fit of bullet 
should be shot from that barrel. Both the 
superior steel and the extra work raise the price 
of the barrel, but the accuracy life of the rifle is 
greatly lengthened. 

Many rifle barrels are soon ruined by excessive 
scrubbing with chemicals to remove metal fouling. 
By metal fouling is meant a deposit of hard metal 
from the bullet's jacket, which sticks with great 
tenacity, escapes observation for a time, but 
rapidly accumulates until the rifle shoots wild. 
Here, as with other diseases, prevention is better 
than cure. The gunmaker's part is extra care in 
finishing the interior of the bore, so that it shall 
be smoothly polished and true to gauge. It is 
not unlikely that a better material for the bullet 
jacket may be found than nickled steel, or cupro- 
nickle-steel perhaps a bronze of high tensile 
strength that is a good anti-friction metal as well. 

Ordinary lubricants will not work, because they 
are decomposed (disintegrated into their chemical 

72 



MECHANISMS AND MATERIALS 

elements) by the great heat of explosion. Gra- 
phite alone will not stick to the bullet. Any in- 
equality of action in a lubricant will make one 
bullet fly high and another low. Here is room 
for useful experiment. But in any case the barrel 
of a rifle that is to use the best modern ammuni- 
tion should be of high quality and carefully gone 
over by an expert workman. 

The bore of a rifle barrel should not have tight 
or loose places in it. Either it should be a true 
cylinder or, preferably, it should have a slight and 
even taper from breech to muzzle say a quarter 
of a thousandth inch greater in front of chamber 
than at muzzle, in a .30 caliber. It can be tested 
by carefully pushing a well fitting lead bullet 
through the bore from breech to muzzle with a 
steel cleaning rod. 

The muzzle is a rifle's most important part, and 
at the same time the one most exposed to injury 
by a chance blow or by unskilful use of the clean- 
ing rod. Examine it with a lens. If lands and 
grooves are not perfectly cut to the very end, or 
if there be a burr of metal left at the mouth, or 
any sign of wear, reject the piece at once. Any 
imperfection here will allow gas to escape un- 
evenly around the base of the emerging bullet and 
so tilt it at the critical moment of start. 

73 



SPORTING FIREARMS 

A rifle barrel expands a good deal from the 
heat of firing, both around the bore and length- 
wise. In order that this expansion should be 
even, the metal should be distributed symmetri- 
cally. There is no merit in an octagon or half- 
octagon barrel; rather the contrary. The best 
form is round and tapered toward the muzzle. 

Every barrel ffips or springs more or less at 
each discharge. So long as this flip is uniform, 
it may be allowed for in adjusting the sights; but 
grooves cut into the barrel for attaching sights, 
or other parts, affect the flip in a way that is det- 
rimental to accuracy. There should be none. 
Some sporting rifles have a slot for forearm stuck 
almost directly under the rear sight slot. Such 
a barrel can be sprung with the two hands. 

Some fine rifles have a matted rib extending 
along the top of the barrel to prevent the glare 
of sunlight from spoiling one's aim and to cut off 
the radiation of heat waves that arises from rapid 
firing. Such a rib, milled from the solid barrel, 
interferes with uniform expansion and contrac- 
tion of the barrel, may even buckle it tem- 
porarily in continued firing, and the bore 
departs from a true circle. The difference prob- 
ably will not be noticed in a sporting rifle, but no 
rib should be tolerated on an arm for match sh<3ot- 

74 



MECHANISMS AND MATERIALS 

ing. The matting is likely in time to aggravate 
the very trouble it was designed to cure, for when 
the bluing or browning wears off, as it will do 
much faster than from a smooth surface, the 
shooter's eyes will be annoyed by innumerable 
tiny facets of light. 

All friction surfaces of a rifle's action should 
be polished to a mirror-like smoothness, so that 
there shall be no sticking, grating, or clattering 
in operating it. Bolts should be casehardened, 
small parts finished in a workmanlike manner, and 
bluing should be put on to stay. If economy 
must be practised, let it be in non-essentials, and 
not in the barrel that shoots or the mechanism 
that controls its shooting. 



75 



CHAPTER V, 

RIFLE SIGHTS 

HITHERTO we have been studying the 
rifle and its ammunition simply as engine 
and power, independent of the man behind 
the gun. Enter, now, the man, with his personal 
factor to be considered. 

Cartridges, gun barrels, and breech mechanisms 
treat everybody alike. Not so the sights, trigger, 
and stock, which give one control over his weapon ; 
these require adjusting to the individual, because 
men differ in eyesight, coordination, and build. 

In very quick work, at close quarters, a rifle 
may be pointed like a shotgun, without seeing the 
sights at all. This kind of rifle shooting is so 
rare that we need give it scarcely a thought. The 
rifle, properly, is an arm of precision and must be 
handled as such, or we will miss. To hit a small 
object at short range, or a large one at long range, 
it is essential that the sights be exactly aligned 
and that the tip of the front sight barely touches, 

76 



RIFLE SIGHTS 

or does not quite touch, the lower edge of the pre- 
cise spot that one wants to hit. 

A fine fore sight, covered by a hood, such as is 
made for target shooting, is not fit for hunting. 
It cannot be seen distinctly in varying light, nor 
in the shade of forests. A hunter's front sight 
must be open, strong, and firm, and its tip should 
be of some white or colored material that will show 
up plainly against a neutral or murky back- 
ground. 

The plain german-silver front sight generally 
sent out with a cheap rifle does not suit anybody's 
eyes. It is sure to glitter in sunlight. Take a 
rifle so fitted, stand out in the open, swing the 
gun to all points of the compass, and aim at var- 
ious objects as you go. Besides the annoying 
glimmer, the appearance of the sight will vary ac- 
cording to the direction or angle at which light 
impinges on it. One side will show up clearer^ 
than the other, and you cannot well help aiming 
off to the clear side. The eye strain, too, will be 
excessive. 

A black front sight is better, in good light, but 
it cannot be made out distinctly when the light is 
poor. A tip faced with platinum shows up fairly 
well, and it will not glitter like german silver. An 
ivory bead can be seen still more clearly, so long 

77 



SPORTING FIREARMS 

as it is new and white, but it will turn yellow from 
the inevitable oiling, and then must be pared. 
One or two parings, and it is done for. More- 
over, an ivory bead is brittle and easily damaged. 
The best all-round fore sight is a "gold" (al- 
loy) bead. This shows up well, over snow as well 
as in dim places, yet does not glitter in the sun. 

Fore sights with changeable beads are generally 
too frail and disconcerting for wilderness work. 
An exception may be noted in favor of what may 
be called a day-and-night sight. This consists 
of an ordinary " gold " bead sight to the base of 
which is hinged a, steel standard bearing a large 
bead, or rather a small disk, faced with white en- 
amel, which may be thrown up so that the white 
disk covers the ordinary bead. Such sights are 
made in Europe and should be copied or improved 
here, for there often come times in a hunter's ex- 
perience when a sight that can be seen in the dusk 
would be appreciated. Imagine yourself with a 
bear or cougar treed at nightfall. If a luminous 
chemical can be found that will stand the weather, 
it might be better -still for a facing. 

In any case, a bead is preferable to a barley- 
corn, or knife-edge, or plain vertical bar, because, 
when aiming -over an open rear sight, a round 
bead shows more clearly just how much front sight 

78 



RIFLE SIGHTS 

is taken. Size of bead will be governed somewhat 
by length of rifle barrel and by local conditions. 
For general hunting, it is best to use the smallest 
bead that can be seen distinctly. 

The rear sight usually attached to an American 
rifle of over .22 caliber, unless otherwise ordered, 
has two radical faults: first, its high wings cut 
off the view, not only below the thing aimed at, 
but on both sides. This is never desirable, and 
always is a nuisance when shooting at moving 
game. Second, the buckhorn is attached to a 
long, flat spring that runs back from the sight 
slot. This spring, in connection with steps (that 
never are adjusted for any range in particular), 
serves clumsily to elevate the rear sight it takes 
two hands to operate the thing. Thereby the 
sight is brought too close to the eye for clear 
definition. 

Any open rear sight will blur, more or less, be- 
cause no eye can focus simultaneously on rear 
sight, fore sight, and mark aimed at. The closer 
it is to the eye, the more it will blur. Take the 
buckhorn out, tie it on the barrel three or four 
inches forward, and note the improvement. It 
is true that this shortens the sighting radius, but, 
of the two evils, blurred vision is much the worse. 

A plain folding leaf sight, set directly in the 
79 



SPORTING FIREARMS 

rear sight slot, is in better position, and is quicker 
to reset, than a buckhorn. The slot should be at 
least eleven inches ahead of the trigger, and pre- 
ferably twelve. The reason that a military rear 
sight is only seven inches ahead of trigger is that 
it is generally used with the peep instead of the 
bar; in fact, I do not know any expert military 
shot who ever uses the bar, unless it be for quick 
firing. 

The best of open rear sights is a plain, flat 
bar, with perhaps a small notch marking the cen- 
ter, and with one or two folding leaves for longer 
ranges than " point-blank." The bar should slant 
backward and have its top edge beveled, 
so as to offer a clear, clean outline in all lights. 
Its corners should be rounded, to prevent catch- 
ing in gun case or other obstacles. The leaves 
should be held stiffly upright by springs, when in 
use ; otherwise they will soon wear loose and can 
easily be jarred forward. 

Whether the top of a bar sight should be plain 
or notched, with or without vertical line, and 
whether a notch should be wide or narrow, square, 
semi-circular, V-shaped, or U-shaped, are matters 
of personal choice. I can only state my own pre- 
ference and the reasons for it. 

To my eyes, a vertical line to mark the center 
80 



RIFLE SIGHTS 

is unnecessary. If I pay any attention to it at 
all, I must change eye focus to do so, and this dis- 
tracts me from my proper business of watching 
the mark. A triangle of ivory or platinum is 
worse, because it blurs with the bead of the fore 
sight. A deep notch is objectionable for hunting, 
because if I draw down into it (military " half 
sight ") a great deal of the light is cut off. In 
the forest we need all the light we can get. Draw- 
ing half sight has this serious defect, for a hunter, 
that it is hard to do in quick aiming and may be 
impossible in dim light. Hence, if the rifle is ad- 
justed for half sight, one is prone to overshoot. 
I consider it bad practice to draw fine, medium, 
or coarse bead, according to distance. There is 
too much guesswork about it. With a high 
power rifle, you are almost sure to overdo the 
matter. So, on all accounts, I prefer a plain, 
level bar, with small nick to mark the center, and 
I always aim with full bead showiijg just its plain 
circle above the bar. When firing beyond the 
range for which bar or leaf is adjusted, I strive to 
aim as many inches higher as the drop of bullet 
requires. For instance, with a rifle using our 
military cartridge and bar permanently set for 
a " point-blank " of one hundred and fifty yards, I 
carry this simple rule in my head: 

81 



SPORTING FIREARMS 

200 yards = 3 inches drop 
225 yards = 5 inches drop 
250 yards 8 inches drop 

Up to one hundred and seventy-five yards I 
make no allowance at all, as the variation does not 
exceed a couple of inches anywhere. It is easier 
to remember "three, five, eight," and aim accord- 
ingly, than to cut off precisely an infinitesimal 
fraction of an inch at the muzzle while looking 
keenly at the distant mark. 

The method of attaching open sights to a rifle 
barrel is not of much moment with low power arms. 
With weapons using heavy charges that quickly 
heat the barrel to a sizzling temperature, it is 
quite another matter. The cheapest way to 
mount sights is in tapered slots dovetailed in the 
barrel. It is easy, then, to align the sights by 
tapping them over to right or left until a proper 
group is made. A slot weakens the barrel, and 
impairs its accuracy, if the barrel be thin and 
the charge heavy. 

Sight blocks soldered or brazed to the barrel 
are liable to be knocked off when the weapon is 
hot from rapid firing. Smokeless powder makes 
the barrel expand quickly, while the block remains 
cool, and this strains the solder, or even, tears it 
apart. 



RIFLE SIGHTS 



In rifles that have a rib on top of the barrel, 
milled from the solid metal, it is customary to 
dovetail the front sight slot lengthwise into 
muzzle end of rib. This prevents the sight from 
being knocked out of alignment. The objection 
is that individual rifles vary so that no standard 
position for the slot will suit them all, and no 
provision is made for adjustment sidewise. 

The proper way to attach either a front or a 
rear open sight to a high power rifle is by a 
permanent band around the barrel, with movable 
sight base attached. We have a good example 
in the service arm of our army and navy, the 
Springfield-Mauser, commonly called " New 
Springfield." The front sight of this arm is 
pinned to a movable stud (D 9 fig. I/) which fits in 
a band (A) firmly attached to the barrel. Since 





FIGUEE 17. 
83 



SPORTING FIREARMS 

no two rifles are exactly alike, each weapon is tar- 
geted by an expert, at the armory, until the cor- 
rect position of its own front sight is determined. 
A hole is then drilled through base of movable 
stud into standing part of sight band, and a screw 
(F) is inserted, thus securing the front sight im- 
movably in its place. The rear sight is attached 
by a similar band. 

A peep sight on tang, frame, or cocking piece 
gives a longer sighting radius than an open sight 
on the barrel, with proportionally truer aim. The 
aperture of a peep sight for hunting should be 
considerably larger than that for target shoot- 
ing. One's eye will center such a peep-hole in- 
stinctively, because the center of the hole gets 
more light than its edge. He will scarcely be con- 
scious of using a rear sight at all. 

In good light he can catch true aim quicker with 
such a peep than with any pattern of open sight, 
because there is no blur and because he need waste 
no time in cutting off the right amount of bead. 
He can see the whole object aimed at and a con- 
siderable space all around it. A distinct advan- 
tage of the peep over a plain open sight is that 
elevation can be adjusted to any range, and for 
any cartridge, with exactitude. One can set his 
" point-blank " to suit himself ; he can use various 

84 



RIFLE SIGHTS 

charges in the same gun without guesswork as to 
elevations. 

An aperture of any kind is bothersome in the 
gray of dawn or twilight and in the murk of tall 
forests when the sky is overcast. To provide for 
shooting on such occasions (often one's best 
chance) there should be an auxiliary leaf sight on 
the barrel. Both it and the aperture must turn 
down out of the way of the other, for the two can- 
not be used together without blurring everything. 

For target shooting and for hunting small game, 
the best position for a peep sight is on the tang. 
On a rifle of more power, a tang sight is not suit- 
able, unless the arm is hammerless and its bolt 
retreats into the receiver, in which case a short 
tang sight can be mounted well forward, where it 
is not in the way of eye or hand. A peep is at its 
best when not more than two inches from the eye. 

A bolt action rifle may have a peep sight at- 
tached to the receiver. This position is objec- 
tionable because it puts the aperture so far away 
that it is hard to center in dim light. To provide 
for this, there should also be a turn-down leaf on 
the barrel, as previously described. Unfortun- 
ately, nearly all patterns of receiver sights are 
made with the peep permanently erect. This 
should be remedied. 

85 



SPORTING FIREARMS 

Receiver sights, as a rule are slow and awkward 
to reset at different elevations and the divisions 
are too coarse. A receiver sight that clamps in 
position merely by a lever is not sure to " stay 
put." By far the best sight of this class is the 
new Lyman for the Springfield-Mauser, operat- 
ing by a milled-head screw. 

A peep sight attached to the cocking piece has 
this advantage, that it draws back close to the 
eye, where it should be, in aiming, yet flies for- 
ward out of the way before the gun can recoil. I 
have used such a sight on a bolt action rifle with 
complete satisfaction. The anticipated variation 
from wobbling of cocking piece did not occur. 

If one can afford it, the best possible combina- 
tion of sights for open country is a " gold " bead 
front, permanent open rear with one leaf, and a 
telescope sight of the best modern pattern, the 
latter detachable in a moment, and ordinarily car- 
ried like a spyglass in leather scabbard slung 
from the shoulder. The open sights would be 
used for big game near by ; the telescope for small 
game and for all long shots, running or standing. 

Beware, however, of the old-fashioned telescope 
sight with long tube and delicate mountings, per- 
manently attached to the barrel. It is not a prac- 
tical instrument not even for target shooting. 



RIFLE SIGHTS 

Its field (area visible through 'scope) is so small 
that one must grope and bob around to find his 
mark, and then can see but a short distance around 
it. If the object moves, he loses it. 

The relief (distance from eye to eyepiece) is 
generally so short on such telescopes that the tube 
projects backward from the breech, forming a 
hook to catch in all manner of obstacles and quite 
unsafe to use on a rifle of much recoil. The lenses 
are easily jarred loose. The crosshairs are prone 
to break, or to separate in filaments when the 
weather changes. The adjusting screws stick out 
like sore thumbs, ever in the way of twigs and 
trouble. Such a 'scope is a delicate thing to 
carry, even to a rifle range, and is quite unservice- 
able in the field. 

A modern telescope sight of good make is a 
short instrument (not over ten inches long, and 
some of them only six inches) that can be snapped 
on the rifle in a few seconds and detached as 
readily. It is sure to return to the same adjust- 
ment every time. Its construction throughout is 
strong enough for rifles of the highest power and 
for any kind of service forest hunting, saddle 
work, or mountaineering in short, it will stand 
what a spyglass will stand, and is as easily carried. 
Changes of elevation are made by a milled head 

87 



SPORTING FIREARMS 

operating the crosshairs, while the tube remains 
rigid. The mount is hollow, so that the open 
sights can be used, with telescope in position and 
without mounting the 'scope awkwardly on the 
side. The tube itself does not project back of the 
rifle's breech, but has a soft rubber eye-cup to cut 
off side light. It has a wide field and brilliant 
illumination, is adjustable to any eyesight, and 
corrects defects of vision. 

It is a grave mistake to employ a high power 
in a rifle telescope. Five diameters should be the 
limit, for hunting, and three is more satisfactory 
all-round. The lower the power, the wider will be 
the field of vision, the brighter the illumination, 
and .the less one's own tremor will be magnified, 
with consequent swaying of the image. A three- 
power 'scope makes an object three hundred yards 
distant appear only one hundred yards away, and 
that is good enough. The field of a good prism 
telescope of three-power is seventeen yards at one 
hundred yards, and is proportional at other dis- 
tances. This means that, in aiming, the object 
is magnified to three times its apparent height 
to the naked eye, and that the shooter can see 
everything within seventeen feet of it at one hun- 
dred feet, or seventeen yards at one hundred yards. 

An open sight cuts off the lower half of 
88 



RIFLE SIGHTS 

field entirely ; the telescope shows everything below, 
as well as above, and one can shift elevation at 
will, in the twinkling of an eye, by merely aiming 
high or low. It is an advantage to have stadia 
marks in the scope for this purpose. I once had 
a fifteen-inch .22 rifle, with telescope attached, 
that had dots on the vertical crosshair. Using 
long-rifle cartridges, it was easy to do very fine 
shooting at surprising distances. Notwithstand- 
ing the excessively high trajectory, one could catch 
any elevation he wanted. With this tiny gun, a 
ten-year-old boy made bull'seye after bull'seye at 
two hundred yards the first time he tried it, firing 
from muzzle-and-elbow rest, on a still day. 

The extremely compact telescope sight now is- 
sued to expert riflemen in our army and national 
guard serves as a rough but practical range- 
finder. When it was first brought out, a rifle 
equipped with it was tested by Captain Casey of 
the American team. A regular one thousand- 
yard target, with thirty-six inch bull'seye, had 
been placed so far away that the bull was a mere 
speck to the naked eye. Casey did not know the 
distance and set in to get the range for himself, 
by firing from the prone position. His first shot 
ricochetted into the target, scoring 3, the second 
was a 4, and the next eighteen bullets struck the 

89 



SPORTING FIREARMS 

bull'seye, the wildest of them being no more than 
eighteen inches from dead center. The distance 
was then found to be one mile. The more one 
knows of rifle shooting, the better he can appre- 
ciate such a triumph for ammunition, gun, sight, 
and man. 



90 



CHAPTER VI 

TRIGGERS AND STOCKS CARE OF RIFLE 

COMMAND of the trigger is the hardest and 
the most essential part of marksmanship. 
Few human operations require one's nerves 
to be so finely strung and his muscles so instantly 
responsive, in the face of immediate concussion and 
recoil. And the slightest blink or balk, quiver or 
flinch, when drawing trigger, will cause a miss. 

The worst fault of cheap rifles is their rough 
and exasperating locks. Every man who is am- 
bitious to excell with the rifle would gladly pay 
extra for a superior lock, if he could get it. Rifle 
makers offer many outside " extras " in the way 
of plating, engraving, and other non-essentials, up 
to hundreds of dollars, but the product of skill- 
ful handwork that buyers would most appreciate 
is a first-class trigger mechanism. 

A lock made of inferior steel will soon wear out 
of adjustment. Then the trigger will creep, i. e., 
will start, stick, require two distinct pressures, 

91 



SPORTING FIREARMS 

and go off unexpectedly at last. The language 
of anathema, even -as perfected by Sterne in his 
Tristram Shandy, does not suffice to do such a 
mechanism justice. No man lives who can shoot 
decently with a creeping trigger. 

In a rough lock, the notch into which the sear 
engages must be deep, lest the metal wear off or 
snap off. This notch is toothed upward at an 
angle, so that the sear cannot merely slide out 
but must lift against direct pressure of the main- 
spring. If the notch is deep, the trigger cannot 
let off quick and sharp. 

When shooting offhand, it is impossible for any- 
one to hold without tremor. The best a man can 
do is to touch off just as his front sight swings 
to the right spot. This takes the utmost nicety 
of judgment and instantaneous execution of it. 
An error of a fiftieth of a second, in firing, is likely 
to throw the shot wild. In this infinitesimal in- 
terval, the eye, and brain, and finger, and trigger, 
all must work together. 

No firing mechanism can be operated, from start 
to finish, in a fiftieth of a second, except a finely 
adjusted set trigger. A plain trigger requires 
that preliminary pressure be applied, to take up 
all but the last few ounces of strain and that it 
be steadily held there until the critical instant; 

92 



TRIGGERS AND STOCKS 

then the final release is let off in a flash. Whether 
the pull be light or heavy, it positively should be 
smooth in take-up and instantly responsive to the 
final let-off. 

Set triggers are of three types; single, split, 
and double. The single set is put in action by 
pressing it forward with the thumb. It is not 
likely to wear well. The split trigger (called by 
the maker " double set ") likewise has its rear 
half pushed forward to set. It lasts better, but 
has a rather annoying backlash. Both of these 
patterns are slow to operate. Much better than 
either is the old reliable double set of our earliest 
frontier days (now trade-listed as " schuetzen 
double set," because re-introduced by German- 
American target shooters). This consists of two 
triggers spaced well apart, as in a double gun. 
The forward trigger is set by drawing the rear one 
back to a click ; hence the arm can be set and fired 
very quickly, with gun to shoulder. A well made 
double trigger can be regulated to a hair, will al- 
ways stay so, and will not jar off. In the hands 
of a cool man who is used to it, this is by far the 
best mechanism for deliberate offhand shooting, 
both at targets and at game in the open. As a 
nail-driver with the first shot, it has no equal. 

A set trigger is unfit for quick repeating. Of 
93 



SPORTING FIREARMS 

course, the front trigger can be used without set- 
ting, but the difference between the one-ounce set 
pull that one has grown accustomed to and the 
seven-pound unset pull that he may want to use in 
an emergency will balk anybody. I have been used 
to the set trigger for twenty years and to plain 
triggers for twice that span, yet I cannot change 
from one to the other without a little practice, 
nor do I know anybody else who can. 

In fine, a set trigger is admirable for hunting 
small game, and for stalking on the plains or amid 
thinly forested mountains. It is an advantage 
when one uses a telescope sight. Yet for average 
hunting in forest and thicket and for all quick 
firing, it is out of place. One must choose ac- 
cording to the work he is to do. 

At the other extreme is the old-fashioned mili- 
tary pull of from eight to twelve pounds. Very 
few men can ever be trained to do good offhand 
work with such a pull; nor does the accomplish- 
ment, when acquired, stand for anything meritor- 
iousit is against nature. The modern military 
pull is better. It has, first, a dragging take-up of 
enough finger-power to make it safe among massed 
troops, then a comparatively light let-off. It will 
balk a recruit, in quick firing, until he gets used 
to it. 



TRIGGERS AND STOCKS 

The best all-round trigger for a sporting rifle 
is a plain one of from two to three pounds. If the 
lock is well made, there is no valid objection to a 
two-pound pull, and most men will do better shoot- 
ing with it than with a heavier one. The lock 
parts should be of hard but tough steel, ground 
and polished smooth, and then adjusted by some- 
one who is more of a watchmaker than a black- 
smith. 

A rifle should balance about four inches in front 
of the trigger guard. Good balance makes a gun 
buoyant and quick to swing into position, whereas 
an ill-balanced arm causes one to boggle and hunt 
for his sights. A well proportioned gun is less 
burdensome to carry than a clumsy one that may 
be a pound or two lighter. 

No rifle using modern ammunition need have a 
barrel more than twenty-four inches long. Ex- 
haustive tests by our ordnance department have 
proven that the muzzle velocity of a .30 Spring- 
field-Mauser with a twenty-four inch barrel is 
but eighty-seven feet a second less than that of a 
thirty-inch barrel, while the accuracy of the short 
barrel is equal to that of the long one, its weight 
three-fourths pound less, the balance better, the 
arm more easily manipulated, and its total length 
suitable for cavalry as well as infantry. A differ- 

95 



SPORTING FIREARMS 

ence of eighty-seven feet in muzzle velocity does 
not seriously affect the weapon's trajectory with- 
in sporting ranges. It is more than compensated 
by the merits gained. On the other hand, twenty- 
four inches is as short as a sporting barrel should 
be, unless for special service, because a shorter 
barrel is hard to aim truly without a telescope. 

The weight of a high power rifle should be 
governed chiefly by the amount of free recoil set 
up by its cartridge. From seven and one-half to 
eight pounds is enough rifle weight for such a cart- 
ridge as the .30 U. S. A., 5 06, which gives a free 
recoil of fifteen foot-pounds, and six pounds is 
plenty for a .30-30 of seven pound recoil. How- 
ever, it is here assumed that the weight is where 
it belongs chiefly in action and breech end of 
barrel. A well made rifle has no superfluous wood 
or metal anywhere. A cheap one has a great deal 
of useless steel in the frame and elsewhere, that 
could be milled out to the betterment of the piece. 
I also assume that the best barrel steel is used, with 
no slots to weaken it, and that the piece has a shot- 
gun butt to distribute recoil. 

The fit of a rifle stock is not of so much con- 
sequence in firing deliberately with light charges, 
but a rifle that must be swung smartly into posi- 
tion for a shot on the jump should " come up " 

96 



TRIGGERS AND STOCKS 

like a well proportioned shotgun. The stock of a 
sporting rifle, though, should be a little shorter 
than that of a shotgun, because the arm is some- 
times used in prone position. Moreover, a rifle- 
man's proper poise, when shooting offhand, is more 
erect and straight-necked than that of a gunner; 
hence the rifle stock needs more crook than a shot- 
gun's. (Compare figures in Chapter IX.) 

The following dimensions for rifle stocks are 
copied, in the main, from the writings of Mr. E. 
C. Grossman, an expert whose judgment in every- 
thing pertaining to rifled firearms deserves close 
attention. 

A rifle stock for a man of average build should 
measure about thirteen and three-fourths inches 
from trigger to hollow of butt; drop from line 
of sight to comb, one and seven-eighths inches; 
drop to heel, three inches. A short man, or one 
with short arm-reach, needs a shorter stock, say 
thirteen and one-half inches; a tall or long 
armed man, a longer one, fourteen or fourteen 
and one-fourth inches. A short neck requires a 
drop of one and three-fourths inches at comb 
and two and three-fourths inches at heel; long 
neck, two, and three and one-fourth inches, re- 
spectively. 

If the stock is made to order, a cast-off (stock 
97 



SPORTING FIREARMS 

bent away from face) of one-fourth inch at heel 
will help to bring the eye straight in line with the 
sights, without effort* A broad chested, full- 
faced man needs more. A well-shaped cheek 
piece also helps one to align quickly and naturally 
along the axis of the barrel, but adds weight to 
the gun. 

A full pistol grip aids holding, provided it be 
close to the trigger and well curved (for an aver- 
age hand, four inches from trigger to front of 
grip cap). A grip so shaped lessens the strain 
on the three grasping fingers and thereby leaves 
the trigger finger mobile for its proper work. A 
grip of four and three-fourths inches circumfer- 
ence fits a medium hand. 

The conventional American rifle butt, slender, 
thin, and crescent shaped where it fits the arm, 
is a relic of the eighteenth century. It was prop- 
erly designed for the rifles of that day, which had 
excessively long barrels and practically no re- 
coil; hence were shot from the arm instead of 
from the shoulder. It is quite unsuitable for 
present-day weapons that use heavy charges and 
must often be handled quickly. A shotgun butt, 
slightly hollowed between heel and toe, comes 
promptly to the aim, does not catch in clothing, 
and its broad plate distributes recoil over a con- 

98 



TRIGGERS AND STOCKS 

siderable area of the shoulder. A butt plate of 
hard rubber is too brittle; it is better of steel, 
checkered to prevent slipping when the shirt or 
coat is wet. 

I like a trap in the plate, opening into a cham- 
ber within the butt where a jointed cleaning rod 
is kept, together with a spare striker or firing 
pin, spare springs (if flat), a folding screwdriver 
like that of our army, and a bullet jacket extrac- 
tor. I much prefer a cleaning rod, even if many- 
jointed, to a pull-through thong. The latter is 
a poor excuse for cleaning and is liable to break, 
in which case it is a desperately hard thing to 
get rid of. Again, if a shell neck or a bullet 
jacket lodges in the barrel, the rifle is put out 
of action until a rod can be found. 

Straight-grained walnut is stronger than fig- 
ured wood. See that the grain runs lengthwise 
of the grip. Italian walnut is hardest and hand- 
somest, but heavy. English walnut is next 
choice. A varnished stock is garish when new 
and shows every scratch and bruise thereafter. 
The most tasteful and durable finish is produced 
by several coats of linseed oil, each thoroughly 
rubbed in by hand. 

The stock of a good rifle is improved by neat 
and sharp checkering on grip and forearm, to 

99 



SPORTING FIREARMS 

keep the hands from slipping. It is well, also, to 
checker the trigger, safety catch, under side of 
bolt head, and butt plate. All other metal parts 
should be left severely plain, the blueing being 
of a dull finish. Anything that glitters on a rifle 
disturbs aim and alarms game by flashing like a 
heliograph. Many a time, the first notice I have 
had that another hunter was in the field came 
from the glitter of his rifle barrel. 

Plating and engraving are out of place on a 
weapon that is not meant for ballrooms or dress 
parade. They cheapen and vulgarize it, as dia- 
monds do a street costume. The beauty of a 
rifle is in its symmetry, its graceful contours, its 
easy poise in the owner's hands, its evident fit- 
ness for stern and manlike work. Let it show in 
every line and on every surface that it is no play- 
thing, but a weapon of precision. 

When one gets a good rifle, by all means let 
him take thoughtful care of it. This means work 
at times when one is least inclined for it; but do 
it. Never leave a rifle fouled from the day's 
shooting. A few nights' neglect, or even one, 
can ruin the best gun a man ever put to his 
shoulder. 

The corrosive residue of smokeless powder can- 
not be removed with a wet rag, like that of black 

100 



TRIGGERS AND STOCKS 

powder. The black carbon fouling that you see 
when looking through the barrel may be swabbed 
out with a dry wiper, but that is not what does 
the mischief. There is left a sticky residue that 
you cannot see, but that you can feel adhering 
to the wiper as you run a rod through. This 
has an acid reaction and attacks steel virulently. 
Water will not dissolve it. You must use either 
a nitro-solvent oil or an alkali, preferably the 
former. 

Get a yard or two of firm cotton flannel, thick 
enough so that the tip of the rod will not push 
through it (a stuck rod is hard to remove). 
From this cloth cut square wipers of such size 
that they will just fit snugly but can be pushed 
through without strain. If your rifle is of such 
model that it can be cleaned from the breech 
(every rifle should be) open the breech, remove 
bolt, if there is one, put a newspaper on the floor, 
stand the rifle on it with muzzle down, and keep 
it so. Shove a dry wiper through, as far as it 
will go, and withdraw it. This brings out the car- 
bon fouling. 

Then saturate a wiper with nitro-solvent oil 
and swab the bore with it four or five times. Re- 
peat with a fresh rag wet with the solution. 
Finally, turn the rifle up and clean out the muzzle 

101 



SPORTING FIREARMS 

with a similarly oiled rag on the end of a sharpen- 
ed pine stick, and the chamber with the same. 
In this way there is no chance of injuring the 
muzzle, which is the most delicate part of a gun. 

It is not necessary to scrub hard, because your 
object is not to remove the sticky fouling by 
friction (it can't be done, not even with a wire 
brush), but to "dope" the barrel thoroughly 
with the solvent, and then give the latter time 
to get in its work. 

Set the gun away for twenty-four hours. Then 
look through it. You may be surprised to see 
the bore evenly coated with a reddish deposit that 
looks like rust. It is not rust, but is something 
that soon will cause rust if you don't remove it. 
This deposit will appear, no matter how much 
elbow-grease you may have used on the barrel 
in the first place. When a gun is fired with 
smokeless powder, the gases are driven into the 
very pores or texture of the steel, and some of 
their acid residue is lodged there. This sub- 
stance will " sweat out " gradually. 

Now go for it, with the nitro-solvent, just as 
you did before. And repeat this operation the 
third day, even the fourth, if you love your gun. 
When a dry rag will come out perfectly clean, 
you may be satisfied that the gun is " surgically 

102 



TRIGGERS AND STOCKS 

clean " the microbes of rust have been ex- 
terminated. 

Then oil the bore with liquid vaseline (albolene, 
cosmoline oil). This is absolutely neutral, can- 
not gum or turn rancid, and is thick enough to 
stay where it is put. A thin oil is not the thing 
for a gun bore, because it will run down into the 
chamber and leave the upper bore unprotected. 
If the rifle is to be put away for a long time, or 
if you live at the seashore, use mercuric ointment 
instead of oil ; it is the best of all rust preventers. 

You can make a good nitro-solvent cheaper 
than you can buy it from a sporting goods 
dealer. This is Dr. W. G. Hudson's formula, 
and a good one: 

Kerosene oil free from acid 2 fluid ounces 

Sperm oil 1 fluid ounce 

Spirits of turpentine 1 fluid ounce 

Acetone 1 fluid ounce 

Your druggist can test the kerosene for you, 
in a jiffy, with litmus paper. The above solvent 
is a good rust-preventive. 

If nitro-solvent cannot be procured, dissolve 
washing soda (not baking soda) until the water 
will take up no more (i. e., a saturated solution). 
Use this just as you would the solvent, but when 
through, carefully remove all trace of it from 

103 



SPORTING FIREARMS 

the bore with dry rags, or the soda itself will set 
up rust. Then oil. 

A cleaning rod to be used in a high power rifle 
is best made of steel, because grit will stick to 
a wooden rod, or even a brass one, and act on the 
bore like a rat-tail file. Any rod, whether wood 
or metal, will injure the muzzle in a surprisingly 
short time, if the wiping is done from the muzzle 
and in an unskilful way. The proper shape for 
a rod head is shown in the accompanying cut, 
which I have borrowed from Lieutenant Whelen's 
Hints to Military Riflemen. 




RIGHT SHAPE FOR CLEANING ROD. 

While a rifle cannot be cleaned thoroughly with 
a pull-through or field wiper, still, such treat- 
ment is better far than neglect. A common cord 
or thong is likely to break, and then the shooter 
is " hung up " for sure. A superior field cleaner, 
home made, was recently described by Mr. R. A. 
Kane : 

" Get about three feet of heavily braided brass 
picture hanger's wire, drop a little soft solder 
on each end to keep it from raveling, then with 
a pointed tool like a carpenter's awl, separate the 
strands squarely in the middle, an inch from one 

104 



TRIGGERS AND STOCKS 

end, and again twice more at intervals, leaving 
an inch between the .openings. Into these open- 
ings through the braided wire insert oblong 
strips of cotton flannel thick enough to fit the 
bore snugly. 

" To wipe the barrel, thread the plain end of 
the wire through from the muzzle and, as it ap- 
pears at the open breech, take a turn around the 
hand and draw through smartly with a single pull. 
This excellent pull-through wiper is not liable 
to break off in the barrel and, when coiled up, 
may be carried in one's vest pocket. The wip- 
ing rags should be passed through the braided 
wire at right angles to each other." 

Always wipe out the oil from a rifle bore before 
firing, for it will make the bullet fly wild. For 
the same reason, never wet or oil a bullet. 

The mechanism of a rifle, wherever metal parts 
rub together, should be kept lightly oiled with a 
good thin oil like " 3-in-l." Too much oil only 
serves to catch dust and grit. For the outside 
of the gun, Lieutenant Whelen advises that a 
piece of buckskin be saturated with oil ; " once 
thoroughly saturated, it will last a lifetime, and 
is a great saver of oil." Of course, the gun first 
must be wiped thoroughly dry. The stock needs 
attention, at intervals, lest moisture get into it 

105 



SPORTING FIREARMS 

and swell it. Apply a coat of raw linseed oil, 
nothing else, and polish by rubbing with the 
hand. 

To remove metal fouling, dope the barrel 
for three or four minutes with a prep- 
aration sold for the purpose, or with strong- 
est ammonia, cleaning thoroughly thereafter 
till all trace of the alkali has vanished, and 
being especially careful to get none of the liquid 
in the action, for it is sure to cause rust. 

If a rifle barrel once becomes pitted from rust, 
throw it away and get another. To try to re- 
move rust with flour of emery or pumice would ruin 
the barrel anyway. Never polish any part that 
is blued. Do not put your rifle away with a cork 
or oiled rag in the muzzle : instead of keeping 
moisture out of the barrel it will seal up the mois- 
ture of the air inside the tube, and rust will fol- 
low. 

It sometimes happens that the neck of a shell 
is blown up into the barrel, or a bullet jacket may 
lodge there. To remove either, insert a bullet 
jacket extractor, such as is issued to troops in 
the company repair kit, and tap out with a clean- 
ing rod ; or, upset one end of a bit of copper rod 
to full caliber of bore, insert small end down, and 
tap out gently. 

106 



PART II 
THE SHOTGUN 



107 



CHAPTER VII 

SHOT PATTERNS AND PENETRATION 

IN passing from rifles to shotguns, we en- 
counter a quite different set of problems. 
Still, the two arms have this much in com- 
mon, that all depends upon what we want to do 
with them. Some kinds of gunning require a 
wide spread of shot at close quarters ; others, a 
compact swarm at a considerable distance, Some 
game can be killed with small shot ; other game re- 
quires large pellets. The more pellets we use, 
the better chance of hitting, but the more lead 
thrown, the heavier our gun must be. Charge of 
powder and shot must be proportional to weight 
of gun, and weight governs dimensions. 

Let us take up one point at a time, keep our 
minds on it for the time being, and not be over- 
hasty about drawing conclusions. In the end, 
we shall find that desirable qualities conflict, 
more or less, and that compromises between them 
must be made, lest we pick out a freak gun that 
excells in some one merit at the expense of others. 

109 



SPORTING FIREARMS 

The power of a shotgun is determined by its 
pattern and penetration. Pattern means two 
things. 

1. The percentage of shot pellets that the gun 
will place in a given area, at a given distance, 
the standard being a thirty-inch circle at forty 
yards ; 

2. The evenness with which the pellets are dis- 
tributed over that area. 

An ideal pattern would be one containing every 
pellet of the charge, all spaced equidistant from 
each other. But no gun ever shoots that way. 
Many pellets are battered out of shape by con- 
cussion, or by friction against the bore. Since 
these offer unequal surfaces to the air's resis- 
tance, they soon swerve like a flat stone. Others 
are jostled out of the way by their crowded neigh- 
bors. 

The pattern that a charge of shot will make de- 
pends very much upon how the gun barrel is 
bored. When shot are fired from a true cylinder 
they soon scatter widely, so that only thirty per 
cent to thirty-five per cent of the pellets will 
strike inside a thirty-inch circle, at forty yards. 
This is too thin a pattern for any but the shortest 
ranges ; consequently guns are not bored to a true 
cylinder for sporting purposes. What are called 

110 



PATTERNS AND PENETRATIONS 

" plain cylinders " by the trade are really made 
with a slight taper toward the muzzle, which com- 
presses the charge enough to pattern, on the aver- 
age, about forty per cent. Try your 12-gauge 
" cylinder " and see if it is not about 13-gauge 
at the muzzle. 

To produce still closer patterns, the gun bore 
must have a rather abrupt choke (constriction) 
near the muzzle, so as to jam the shot together 
at the instant of leaving the gun's mouth. The 
fuller the choke, the denser the pattern. A 
quarter choke (sometimes called "improved cylin- 
der ") averages about fifty per cent of the charge 
in a thirty-inch circle, at forty yards; a half or 
" modified " choke, about sixty per cent ; a full 
choke, about seventy per cent; an extreme choke, 
from seventy-five to eighty per cent. These, at 
least, are the definitions that I shall follow. Gun- 
makers disagree a good deal among themselves 
in the meaning they give to such terms as cylin- 
der, open bore, modified choke, full choke, etc. 
It would be better to discard such words alto- 
gether and describe the degree of constriction by 
the percentage of charge that the gun patterns at 
forty yards. A " full choked " gun is simply one 
that patterns about seventy per cent, regardless 
of its gauge and other dimensions. It may take 

111 



SPORTING FIREARMS 

a constriction of 0.04 inch to full choke a 10- 
gauge, and only 0.02 inch to full choke a 20- 
gauge, but both guns will throw the same per- 
centage of their charges (say seventy per cent) 
into a thirty-inch circle at forty yards. Length 
of barrel has nothing to do with this. 

Spread of charge depends largely upon choke. 
A full choke (seventy per cent) gun throws the 
effective part of its charge into a thirty-inch 
circle at forty yards; a half choke into a thirty- 
six inch circle ; a quarter choke into a forty-two 
inch circle ; a " cylinder " into a forty-eight inch 
circle. This is true of all gauges alike, notwith- 
standing what you may have been told to the con- 
trary. 

Different chokes are adapted to different pur- 
poses. It is with shotguns just as it is with rifles. 
No one gun can excell in all kinds of shooting. 
When one is hunting ruffed grouse in the wood- 
lands, the game springs up from concealment with 
a whir-r-r, and it must be downed at once, or, in 
a second or so, it is gone. Such shooting de- 
mands a wide spread of shot at close quarters, 
both to increase the chance of hitting and to re- 
duce the chance of mutilating. In trap shoot- 
ing, on the other hand, and in wildfowling, it often 
is necessary to hit hard at a considerable distance, 

112 



PATTERNS AND PENETRATIONS 

and this requires the close pattern given by a full 
choke. 

The pattern tables commonly published in gun 
catalogues are not of much use in the field. They 
show nothing but estimated performances of 
various chokes, with all sizes of shot, at the one 
range of forty yards. Game is shot at all dis- 
tances from fifteen to fifty yards, or upwards. 
One should know what his gun will do at all sport- 
ing ranges. So I think it worth while to print 
here the average patterns obtained by actual fir- 
ing with some quarter choke, half choke, and full 
choke 12-gauge barrels, at five-yard intervals, 
from twenty-five to fifty yards, and with three 
different charges standard duck, trap, and up- 
land loads. The figures show the number of pel- 
lets within a thirty-inch circle at each range. 
At twenty yards, all of these chokes place the 
full charge inside a circle of that size. 

12 -GAUGE PATTERNS OF 

DUCK LOAD, 

3^ drams bulk smokeless, 1^ oz. No. 6 chilled shot 
(279 pellets). 





Quarter Choke 


Half Choke, 


Full Choke, 


Range 


nominal 50% 


nominal 60% 


nominal 70% 


in yards, 


at 40 yds. 


at 40 yds. 


at 40 yds. 


25 


234=84% 


251=90% 


265=95% 


30 


201=72% 


229=82% 


246=88% 


35 


173=62% 


198=71% 


223=80% 


40 


142=51% 


170=61% 


198=71% 


45 


106=38% 


140=50% 


167=60% 


50 


84=30% 


106=38% 


145=52% 


113 



SPORTING FIREARMS 

12-GAUGE PATTERNS OF 

TRAP LOAD, 



y% drams bulk smokeless, 1^ oz. No. 1V 2 chilled 


shot (431 pellets). 


Range. 


Quarter Choke 


Half Choke. 


Full Choke. 


25 


362=84% 


389=90% 


410=95% 


30 


315=73% 


358=83% 


384=89% 


35 


267=62% 


306=70% 


345=80% 


40 


216=50% 


263=61% 


303=70% 


45 


155=36% 


212=49% 


246=57% 


50 


114=27% 


151=35% 


211=49% 



12-GAUGE PATTERNS OF 

UPLAND LOAD, 

3 drams bulk smokeless, 1% oz. No. 8 chilled shot 
(460 pellets). 



Range. 
25 
30 
35 
40 
45 
50 


Quarter Choke 
386=84% 
336=73% 
281=61% 
225=49% 
161=35% 
110=24% 


Half Choke. 
414=90% 
382=83% 
322=70% 
271=60% 
216=47% 
147=32% 


Full Choke. 
437=95% 
409=89% 
363=80% 
318=69% 
258=56% 
212=46% 



Bear in mind that these figures are averages. 
Any gun will vary ten per cent between shots, 
and sometimes a good deal more, but the tables 
show what may fairly be expected in the long run. 
Other gauges, of same chokes, will make similar 
percentages at the various distances, with shot 



PATTERNS AND PENETRATIONS 

adapted to them. It will be observed that the 
smaller sizes of shot show a falling off, in pattern, 
at the longer ranges. This is because they lose 
momentum faster, and hence the pellets stagger 
and fly wild. 

It is commonly agreed that on the average a 
bird must be hit by at least three shot, of suit- 
able size, to ensure killing. We may say, then, 
that killing patterns for birds require not less 
than the following number of pellets within a 
thirty-inch circle, at maximum range: 



Snipe, etc ......................... 350 No. 9s or 

Quail ........... . ................. 235 No. 8^s or 8s. 

Large grouse, or small ducks ........ 165 No. 7s or 6s. 

Large ducks ....................... 120 No. 6s or 5s. 

Geese or turkeys ................... 60 No. 3s or larger. 

Bearing these ^figures in mind and glancing 
back, now, at our tables, we can figure pretty 
closely the maximum effective ranges of various 
chokes, in 12-gauge guns, with upland loads and 
duck loads. Other gauges will be considered 
later. 

Of course, killing pattern depends not only 
upon choke but upon gauge of gun, since the 
larger the gauge, the more pellets it will handle. 
But let us consider one point at a time, lest our 
minds wander and we confuse ourselves. Some 
guns make dense patterns and yet bunch the pel- 

115 



SPORTING FIREARMS 

lets irregularly, leaving considerable spaces un- 
touched. This fault may be due to excessive 
choke. At present there are few, if any, makers, 
who will guarantee even patterns of more than 
seventy per cent average. Any choke in excess 
of this is likely to make patchy patterns. Again, 
an extreme choke is prone to lead at the muzzle. 
As soon as lead begins to stick to the bore, the 
shot go to flying wilder and wilder. Hence the 
merit or demerit of a closely choked gun is not 
learned by firing a few shots at sheets of paper, 
but by testing it after a hundred rounds have 
been fired rapidly, as in trap shooting. 

Gunmakers can easily bore barrels that will aver- 
age seventy-five per cent for five test shots, yet it is 
only once in a blue moon that we find an arm 
that will keep this up in an all-day shoot, with- 
out frequent doctoring. Quite recently the 
eighty per cent gun has been announced. I feel 
like predicting that steady averages of over 
seventy per cent will not be attained by peculiar 
boring of the muzzle, but by improved ammuni- 
tion and better chambering. 

The shape of the cone, directly in front of 
the cartridge chamber, affects pattern, and so 
does the fit of shell. When the crimp is blown 
out of a paper shell, it must fit the cone smoothly 

116 



PATTERNS AND PENETRATIONS 

and fill it, or there will be a jump and tilting of 
the wad. If the shell be too short for the cham- 
ber, or the cone too long, gas will escape ahead 
of the shot and will scatter the charge. 

Cheap guns of full choke are likely to give 
patchy patterns, because they have not been re- 
touched by the gun-maker after testing. If one 
must put up with a cheap gun, it is wise for 
him to select a half choke (I am speaking of 12- 
gauges), because what it lacks in closeness of 
pattern will be more than made up in evenness 
and uniformity of shooting. 

A dirty, or leaded, or rusted bore is sure to 
sprinkle its charge; it may even ball some of the 
shot weld them together into an irregular mass 
that will fly anywhere except where it is wanted. 
Balled shot account for many distressing acci- 
dents, where men have been injured at extraor- 
dinary distances, or when standing far out of the 
line of fire. They also explain how Epiphalet 
Snooks killed an eagle at one hundred and five 
measured yards, with number six shot, from gran- 
dad's muzzle-loader. He might have done the same 
thing with both eyes shut and while flinching out 
of his skin. And yet Epiphalet will brag about 
that gun to the end of his days and wilt have sev- 
eral fights for its dear sake. 

117 



SPORTING FIREARMS 

Balling of shot may be caused by bad ammuni- 
tion, or by a charge that does not fit the gun in 
hand. Too much powder, or wads that are not 
thick and springy enough have a like effect in a 
choke bore, whereas such a load would batter the 
shot and sprinkle it from a cylinder bore. 

Some guns string out their shot in a thin pro- 
cession, part of the pellets lagging as much as 
ten or fifteen feet in the rear. In such case the 
pattern might look all right on the target, but 
a fast flying bird could plunge through the charge 
and escape. Cylinder bores are prone to string 
their shot, or to make widely varying groups. 

If the shot are too soft, or not spherical, or of 
mixed sizes, they will string and scatter badly, 
no matter what kind of gun they may be fired 
from. 

It is more important that a gun should pepper 
the target evenly and that it should behave well 
all day, regardless of how hot and dry the air 
may be, than that it should make very close pat- 
terns when tested for a few rounds under favorable 
conditions. 

Effective range depends not only upon how 
many shot hit the object, but also upon their pene- 
tration and the shock they impart. The killing 
power of a pellet of shot is much easier to deter- 

118 



PATTERNS AND PENETRATIONS 

mine than that of a rifle bullet, since shot are 
spherical. If shot of all sizes are fired with the 
same muzzle velocity, then the bigger the shot 
the better it will maintain speed, the far- 
ther it will range, the harder it will hit, and 
the deeper it will penetrate. Size of gun 
bore has nothing to do with this. A 28-gauge will 
drive any size of shot (if it chambers properly) 
as hard as an 8-gauge, and no harder, provided 
the powder charges give both loads the same 
muzzle velocity. Penetration depends simply up- 
on speed and weight and hardness of pellet. A 
20-gauge may drive its shot a little faster than a 
12-gauge because it uses relatively more powder; 
or because the 12-gauge may be squib-loaded and 
hence cannot burn its powder properly; but size 
of bore is not the determining factor. Both guns 
can be standardized to the same initial velocity 
it is all a matter of loading. 

With the favorite powder charges of to-day, 
regardless of gauge, the maximum killing ranges 
of various sizes of shot, on pigeons, are about as 
follows : 

No. 6 55 yards. No. 8% 40 yards. 

No. 7 50 yards. No. 9 35 yards. 

No. 8. .... .45 yards. No. 10 30 yards. 

On small ducks, with standard duck charges, 
119 



SPORTING FIREARMS 

number 6 shot have killing penetration up to fifty 
yards, and number 5 up to fifty-five yards, but 
five or ten yards less on large, full-plumaged 
ducks. In heavy guns using stiff charges, num- 
ber 1 or B shot do steady execution on geese at 
fifty to sixty yards, and BB or BBB shot at sixty 
to seventy yards, while 4s or 3s will do the same 
on ducks. 

Always use chilled shot. There are men who 
prefer soft ones because such pellets flatten more 
on game and make large wounds, when fired at 
short range. But soft shot lose much more in 
pattern and penetration than they gain in shock- 
ing power. They are easily deformed in the gun 
barrel, especially by choke bores then they lag 
in the rear and fly wild. Moreover, they are more 
prone to ball and to lead a gun than hard shot. 

The only objection to chilled shot is that they 
are somewhat lighter than soft lead pellets of the 
same size and hence lose a trifle in sustained 
velocity, range, and penetration. The fault could 
be overcome by hardening shot with mercury, in- 
stead of " chilling " it, but the difference in weight 
is rather trivial, anyway. 

The sizes, weights, and names of shot, accord- 
ing to the " American standard," are shown be- 
low: 

120 



10. 

9% 
9. 



PATTERNS AND PENETRATIONS 

SIZES OF SHOT. 



Name. 
Dust. 
No. 12. 
11. 

Trap. 

Trap. 

Sy 2 Trap. 

8. 

7V 2 Trap. 

7. 

6. 

5. 

4. 

3. 

2. 

1. 
B. 
BB. 
BBB. 
T. 
TT. 
F. 
FF. 



No. to the oz. 


No. to the oz. 


Diameter. Chilled Shot. 


Drop Shot. 


.04 inch. .... 


4565 


.05 " 2385 


2326 


.06 " 1380 


1346 


.065 " 1130 


1056 


.07 " 868 


848 


.075 


716 


688 


.08 


585 


568 


.085 


495 


472 


.09 


409 


399 


.095 


345 


338 


.10 


299 


291 


.11 


223 


218 


.12 


172 


168 


.13 


136 


132 


.14 


109 


106 


.15 


88 


86 


.16 


73 


71 


.17 


e 


59 


.18 


( 


50 


.19 


f 


42 


.20 


* 


36 


.21 


' 


31 


.22 


( 


27 


.23 ' 


24 



COMPRESSED BUCKSHOT. 



4 C 
3 C 
2 C 
1 C 



00 

000 



.24 inch 

.25 " 

.27 " 

.30 " 

.32 " 

.34 " 

.36 " 



341 balls to lb, 

299 " 

238 w 

175 " 

144 " 

122 "' 

103 " 



It is unfortunate that some shot manufacturers 
use antiquated standards of size and nomencla- 
ture, which lead to confusion. 



SPORTING FIREARMS 

Buckshot cannot be recommended for any 
sport; they cripple more deer than they kill, ex- 
cept at very close quarters. They may be use- 
ful, however, for defensive purposes. For choke 
bores, they should be selected by chambering in 
the muzzle. Push a wad down into the closest 
part of the choke, and observe whether a layer 
of the shot will pass it without jamming. 

If a shotgun is ever used on large game, it 
should be only with solid ball and at close quar- 
ters. The ball must fit properly in the narrowest 
(tightest) part of the gun bore. The actual 
calibers of true cylinders are as follows: 

10-gauge, 0.775 inches. 16 gauge, 0.662 inches. 
12-gauge, 0.729 inches. 20-gauge, 0.615 inches. 

Proper sizes of round ball for cylinder bores, 
allowing for patch, are: 

10-gauge, 0.760 inch, 630 grains. 

12-gauge, 0.714 inch, 540 grains. 

16-gauge, 0.647 inch, 390 grains. 

20-gauge, 0.600 inch, 300 grains. 

Chokes amount to from 0.01 to 0.04 inch, de- 
pending upon caliber and upon pattern desired. 
To allow for full chokes, our factories load ball 
cartridges with undersized bullets, the weights 
being as follows: one and one-eighth oz. ball for 

122 



PATTERNS AND PENETRATIONS 

10-gauge; one oz. for 12-gauge; seven-eighths oz. 
for 16-gauge ; five-eighths oz. for 20-gauge. 

Such missiles have great smashing power, at 
short range, and will carry straight enough for 
deer shooting up to forty yards. At one hundred 
yards they will generally miss a stable door, and 
the stable itself at two hundred yards, unless E. 
Snooks is at the trigger. 



123 



CHAPTER VIII 

GAUGES AND WEIGHTS 

THE killing pattern of a shotgun depends 
not only upon choke but upon gauge. 
For example, if we take a 12, a 16, a 20, 
and a 28-gauge, all of them full choked (seventy 
per cent), and load each with its standard charge 
of number 8 shot, they will pattern as follows : 

12-gauge uses iy% oz.=460 pellets, and patterns 70%=322. 
16-gauge uses 1 oz.=409 pellets, and patterns 70%= 286. 
20-gauge uses j oz.=358 pellets, and patterns 70%=251. 
28-gauge uses y^ oz.=307 pellets, and patterns 70%=215. 

Each gun throws seventy per cent of its charge 
into a thirty-inch circle, at forty yards, but the 
12-gauge plants nine shot where the 16-gauge 
places eight, the 20-gauge seven, and the 28- 
gauge six. The bigger the bore, the more pellets 
it will handle, of a given size, and the denser will 
be its pattern, if chokes are the same. 

On the other hand, if we load all four guns with 
the same number of pellets, but still give each 
gauge its standard weight of lead, then, the bigger 
the bore, the larger pellets it will handle, and the 
greater will be its effective range. 

124 



GAUGES AND WEIGHTS 

We can simplify the discussion of gauges by 
means of a table that one's eye can take in at a 
glance. I give, below, average forty-yard pat- 
terns of guns of all gauges from eight to twenty- 
eight, and various chokes, with standard loads of 
all sizes of shot from BBs to 9s, omitting such 
figures as are of no practical use. Chilled shot 
are employed in all cases, except Bs and BBs. 
(For number of pellets to the ounce, see previous 
chapter.) The charges here tabulated are: 

2 ounces. Heavy 8-gauge. 
iy 2 ounces. Heavy 10-gauge. 
\y^ ounces. Heavy 12-gauge. 

\y% ounces. Medium 12-gauge. Heavy 16-gauge. 

1 ounce. Light 12-gauge. Medium 16-gauge. Heavy 
20-gauge. 

t/% ounce. Light 16-gauge. Medium 20-gauge. 

y^ ounce. Light 20-gauge. Medium 28-gauge. 

AVERAGE SHOT PATTERNS, 
30-inch circle, 40 yards. 
FULL CHOKE GUNS =70%. 







1% 


1% 


1% 




% 


% 


Shot 


2oz. 


OZi. 


oz. 


oz. 


1 oz. 


oz. 


oz. 


BB 


70 


50 












B 


83 


70 


52 










No. 1 


102 


76 


64 


57 








2 


123 


92 


77 


69 


62 






3 


153 


114 


97 


86 


76 


67 




4 


190 


143 


119 


107 


95 


83 


71 


5 


241 


181 


151 


135 


120 


106 


90 


6 




234 


195 


176 


156 


137 


117 


7 




314 


262 


235 


209 


183 


158 


ry 2 






302 


272 


242 


211 


181 


8 ' 






358 


322 


286 


251 


215 


sy 2 








390 


347 


303 


260 


9 


1 


j 




461 


410 


358 


307 



125 



SPORTING FIREARMS 



HALF CHOKE=60%. 



Shot. 


1% oz. 


1% oz. 


1 oz. 


%oz. 


% oz. 


No. 5 


129 


116 








6 


167 


151 


134 


118 




7 


224 


202 


179 


157 


135 


7% 


259 


239 


207 


181 


155 


8 


307 


276 


245 


215 


184 


8% 




334 


297 


260 


223 


9 




395 


351 


307 


263 



QUARTER CHOKE=50%. 



Shot. 


1%OZ. 


IVsOZ. 


1 oz. 


% oz. 


No. 6 


140 








7 


187 


168 






7% 


216 


194 


174 




8 


256 


230 


205 




sy 2 




279 


248 


217 


9 




329 


293 


256 



: CYLINDER "=40%. 



Shot. 


1%OZ. 


1% oz. 


1 oz. 


7 /8 OZ. 


No. 7 


150 


134 






7% 


172 


155 


138 




8 


204 


184 


164 


143 


8% 




223 


198 


173 


9 




263 


234 


204 



220 



176 

Referring back, now, to the preceding chapter, 
where killing patterns for various birds are tabu- 
lated, the reader can see for himself what gauges 
and chokes and sizes of shot are effective at forty 
yards, with customary charges as shown above. 
Good estimates of performances at other ranges, 
from twenty to fifty yards, may be made by com- 
paring the work of 12-gauges (see Chapter VII), 
at forty yards, with those of other gauges shown 

126 



GAUGES AND WEIGHTS 

here, and making proportional allowances, accord- 
ing to charge of shot. 

We see at once that size of shot should be regu- 
lated to gauge of gun, as well as to size of game. 
With standard charges, neither a 20-gauge nor a 
16-gauge will pattern close enough for ducks, 
(at forty yards) with any shot larger than num- 
ber 6; whereas a 12-gauge (full choke, of course) 
will handle 5s effectively; a 10-gauge, 4s; an 8- 
gauge, 3s. Similarly, a 20-gauge will make a 
forty yard goose pattern with 3s ; a 16-gauge with 
2s ; a 12-gauge with Is ; a 10-gauge with Bs ; an 
8-gauge with BBBs. Consequently, if other 
things are in normal proportion, the bigger the 
bore, the farther it will kill. 

Of course, a small bore can be so built and 
so loaded as to handle a charge that is " stand- 
ard " for a bigger gauge ; but would we gain or 
lose by it? 

The narrower the bore, the longer the column 
of shot will be, with a given charge. This means 
increased friction in the small bore, greater tamp- 
ing of the powder and consequently quicker burn- 
ing, greater breech pressure, and a more violent 
recoil. Moreover, small bores generally are 
loaded with finer shot than large bores, when used 
for the same purpose ; and the finer the shot, the 

127 



SPORTING FIREARMS 

harder the gun will kick. All experts, I believe, 
agree that small bores require more gun weight in 
proportion to shot weight than large bores do. 
For example, a 12-gauge using two and three- 
fourths drams of powder and an ounce of shot 
need not weigh over six and one-fourth pounds, 
but a 16-gauge charged with similar load should 
be half a pound heavier ; and a 20-gauge, another 
half pound. Since the prime merit of a small 
bore is its lightness of gun and of ammunition, 
it must be apparent that overcharging such a 
weapon is poor policy. 

Hitherto we have been speaking only of 
shot loads, irrespective of powder. Would any- 
thing be gained by using light loads of shot and 
heavy charges of powder? 

We hear a good deal, nowadays, about small- 
bore " express " shotguns a term borrowed from 
the riflemen's parlance of thirty years ago. Any- 
one can see that if the velocity of shot can be 
raised, say, two hundred feet a second, without 
spoiling the pattern, then their effective range 
will be greater, and a gunner need not allow so 
closely for " lead " of his bird, nor for drop of 
shot at long range. 

Of course, it is easy to increase the velocity by 
using more powder, but the trouble is here, that 

128 



GAUGES AND WEIGHTS 

with present systems of gun boring and present 
methods of cartridge making, any considerable 
increase above standard charge of powder is 
likely to batter the shot, lead the gun, and ruin 
the pattern. We cannot have successful high- 
velocity shotguns until makers of guns and of am* 
munition consent to spend a good deal of time 
and money on something new and this, naturally, 
they are loath to do. 

Tentative experiments have been made, with en- 
couraging results. It is claimed that a seven and 
one-half pound 12-gauge has been built in Eng- 
land that brings down overhead ducks from an 
altitude of fifty to sixty yards. Quite recently, 
Mr. Charles Askins, the gun expert, has secured 
an American eight pound 16-gauge in which he 
uses three and one-fourth drams of Schultz and 
an ounce of shot, " probably the highest- velocity 
load eVer regularly shot from an American shot- 
gun." The astonishing thing about this gun and 
charge is that they make an even pattern of 
eighty per cent. It will be interesting to learn 
whether this sturdy weapon behaves well at the 
fiftieth or hundredth round. 

The advantage of high initial velocity is greater 
with large shot than with small ones, because the 
latter are less able to maintain speed. Extra 

129 



SPORTING FIREARMS 

powder charge, with fine shot, is wasted, just as an 
athlete's strength would be wasted in trying to 
throw grains of sand to a distance. Still, it seems 
feasible to give number 7 shot a somewhat higher 
remaining speed at duck ranges than 6s have with 
their present standard charges of powder, and 
number 9 shot a higher remaining speed at quail 
ranges than 8s now have. When this is accom- 
plished, the six and three-fourths pound 20-gauge 
of the future will be as effective with seven-eighths 
ounce of shot as our seven and one-half pound 12- 
gauges of to-day are with one and one-eight ounce, 
as regards both spread and density of pattern. 
Of this, more anon. 

We may now take up the four classes of shot- 
guns, seriatim, namely : upland, wildf owling, trap, 
and all-round guns. 

1. Upland Guns. For hunting snipe, plover, 
woodcock, quail, and the larger grouse, we do not 
need very powerful arms, but light weight of gun 
and ammunition are essential. When a man has 
tramped the fields from morn till noon with a 
seven and one-half pound gun, he will be in ready 
mood to swap for something lighter. Five yards 
greater killing range does not compensate for stiff 
muscles and the lassitude that comes from over- 
exertion. A tired man is too slow. 

130 



GAUGES AND WEIGHTS 

There is an opposite extreme to be avoided: the 
feather-weight. A certain weight is required to 
steady one's swing. Men of average physique 
will make fewer misses, in an all-day hunt afield, 
with a gun weighing between six and seven pounds, 
than they will make with either a heavier or a 
lighter arm. 

Now, what power is needed for upland shoot- 
ing? and can we get it in such light guns? and 
what kind of gun will give us the most power with 
the least fatigue in handling it? 

Nine-tenths of upland game is killed within 
thirty-five yards. Any gun that will make the 
minimum killing pattern at forty yards (say 235 
number 8 shot within a thirty-inch circle) has 
ample power for the purpose. This is done by a 
quarter-choke with one and one-eighth ounce of 
shot, by a half-choke with one ounce, and by a 
full choke with seven-eighths ounce, regardless of 
gauge. So much for long range. 

But we also must have, for upland work, an 
open pattern at short range. How short a range? 
Not fifteen yards, because, at that distance, a 
forty per cent cylinder bore will bunch its full 
charge within a ten or twelve inch circle, and 
blow a bird to pieces, or at least make it unfit for 
table. At twenty yards, then? Yes, at twenty 

131 



SPORTING FIREARMS 

yards we want a pattern that will not mangle. 
This we can get with a cylinder bore using one 
and one-eighth ounce of shot, with a quarter-choke 
using one ounce, or with a half-choke using seven- 
eighths ounce. 

Hence our conditions are met by a light 12- 
gauge with right barrel cylinder bored and left 
barrel quarter-choked; also by a 16-gauge of 
quarter and half-choke; also by a 20-gauge of 
half and full-choke. 

We now are on the firing line of what has sar- 
castically been called " the battle of the bores." 
Let us compare the guns last named, testing them 
side by side, for spread and density of pattern, 
both at average (twenty-five yard) and extreme 
(forty yard) upland ranges. First with number 
8 shot. 

PATTERNS WITH NUMBER 8 SHOT. 

25 yards. 





Charge of 


Killing Circle. 


Pattern. 


Gauge. 


No. 8 shot 


Right. 


Left. 


Right. 


Left. 


12 


1% oz. 


30 


26 


368 


386 


16. 


1 oz. 


26 


22 


344 


368 


20. 


% oz. 


22 


18 


322 


340 


40 yards. 




Charge of 


Killing Circle. 


Pattern. 


Gauge. 


No. 8 shot. 


Right. 


Left. 


Right. 


Left. 


12. 


1% oz. 


52 


42 


184 


230 


16. 


1 oz. 


42 


36 


205 


245 


20. 


% oz. 


36 


30 


215 


251 



132 



SPORTING FIREARMS 

PATTERNS WITH NUMBER 8% SHOT. 

25 yards. 

Charge of Killing Circle. Pattern. 

Gauge. No.S^shot. Right. Left. Right. Left. 

16. 1 oz. 30 26 396 416 

20. % oz. 26 22 365 391 

40 yards. 

Charge of Killing Circle. Pattern. 

Gauge. No.8%shot. Right Left. Right. Left. 

16. 1 oz. 52 42 198 248 

20. % oz. 42 36 217 260 

Comparing these figures with the preceding 
table, we find that, with suitable chokes, and nor- 
mal loads, a 16-gauge using number eight and one- 
half shot excells a 12-gauge with number eight, 
up to forty yards; and that a 20-gauge gives a 
denser pattern, with killing circle only four inches 
less at twenty-five yards than the 12-gauge, under 
same conditions. If number nine shot were used, 
the guns might be bored more open, and still main- 
tain killing patterns, but the effective range would 
be cut down to thirty-five yards. 

For the larger grouse we must use larger shot 
and the patterns need be no denser than 165 at ex- 
treme range. Testing the small bores last men- 
tioned (16-gauge cylinder and quarter-choke, 20- 
gauge quarter and half-choke) with number seven 
and one-half shot, we get the following averages, 
as compared with the 12-gauge. 

133 



GAUGES AND WEIGHTS 

" Killing circle " refers to the area over which 
the shot spread uniformly, and " pattern " means 
the number of pellets within a 30-inch circle. 

Anybody can see, from this, that at medium 
range the large bore has the advantage, if chokes 
are as here given; whereas at long range the 
smaller bores surpass it. 

If we give the 16-gauge the same chokes as the 
12, and give the 20-gauge a quarter choke right 
and half-choked left, then these small bores will 
do better at twenty-five yards, but will sprinkle 
too thin at forty yards provided we stick to 
number 8 shot. 

These are the reasons for conceding, as nearly 
everyone does, that small-bores are only for the 
expert who can center his bird time after time, 
and that they are poor weapons for ordinary 
marksmen, because their killing circles are too 
small. 

Now comes up a point that seldom is con- 
sidered. Up to forty yards, number eight and one- 
half shot have killing penetration for all upland 
game except large grouse. Suppose we try num- 
ber eight and one-half in a 16-gauge with right- 
barrel a cylinder and left quarter-choke ; also in a 
20-gauge, right quarter-choke, left half-choke. 



GAUGES AND WEIGHTS 

PATTERNS WITH NUMBER 7^ SHOT. 

25 yards. 

Charge of Killing Circle. Pattern. 

Gauge. No.7%shot. Right, Left. Right. Left. 

12. 1% oz. 30 26 310 326 

16. 1 oz. 30 26 276 290 

20 % oz. 26 22 264 272 



Gauge. 
12. 
16. 
20. 


No.7%shot. 
1% oz. 
1 oz. 
% oz. 


Right. 
52 
52 
42 


40 
Left. 
42 
42 
36 


yards. 
Right. 
155 
138 
151 


Left. 
194 
174 
181 



If larger shot than number seven and one-half 
is used in the small bores, then our 16-gauge must 
be half-choked, and the 20-gauge full-choked, or 
the pattern will be too thin for any but short dis- 
tances. Guns so choked are only for the expert 
marksman, and for open country at that. In 
ruffed grouse hunting, or brush work generally, 
they would be well-nigh useless. 

I conclude, then, that for upland shooting a 
16-gauge should be cylinder-bored (forty per 
cent) in the right barrel, quarter-choked (fifty 
per cent) in the left; a 20-gauge, quarter-choked 
in the right, half-choked (sixty per cent) in the 
left ; and that both should be charged with number 
seven and one-half shot for ruffed grouse, or num- 
ber eight and one-half for quail and the smaller 
birds. So built and so loaded, the small-bores 

135 



SPORTING FIREARMS 

have all the spread and density and penetration 
that are needed for upland shooting. It follows 
that if they have, in addition, any peculiar merits 
which are lacking in the larger gauges, then these 
merits may well be determining factors in choice 
of weapon. 

The advantages of light weight and handy grip 
they certainly do possess. Normal dimensions 
for upland guns of various gauges may be stated 
as follows. 



Gauge. Weight. 


Bbls. 


Shell. 


Powder. 


Shot. 


12. 


7 Ibs. 


30 in. 


2% in. 


3 dr. 


1% oz. 


*16. 


6% in. 


30 in. 


2 9-16 in. 


2% dr. 


1 oz. 


16. 


6y 2 Ibs. 


28 in. 


2 9-16 in. 


2y 2 dr. 


1 oz. 


*20. 


6% Ibs. 


28 in. 


27 8 in. 


2y 2 dr 


% oz. 


20. 


6% Ibs. 


28 in. 


2y 2 in. 


2% dr. 


% oz. 



(The guns starred (*) give a slightly higher velocity to 
the shot than standard.) 

In comparing weights, we should consider am- 
munition as well as weapon. Twenty-gauge cart- 
ridges weigh three pounds less per hundred than 
those of 12-gauge. 

I do not advise using shorter barrels than 
twenty-eight inch, in any gauge. A good length 
of sighting plane is essential for true alignment, 
and a certain length is needed for steady swing. 

If a pump gun or self-loader is preferred, then, 
for the uplands, let it be a 12-gauge cylinder, or 

136 



GAUGES AND WEIGHTS 

a 16-gauge quarter-choke, or a 20-gauge half- 
choke. 

2. Wildfowling Guns. Close patterns at long 
range are indispensable for ducks, geese, brant, 
and other waterfowl. Large shot must be used, 
and plenty of them. The powder charge should 
be as heavy as practicable, to drive the shot at 
good speed. The gun should be of large bore, full 
choke and heavy metal. It is true that small- 
bore guns of high velocity do good work on wild- 
fowl under certain conditions, but only when 
handled by expert marksmen. Average duck 
hunters are badly handicapped by anything less 
than a heavy 12-gauge, say one of eight pounds, 
with thirty-two-inch barrels, using from three and 
one-half to three and three-fourths drams of 
powder, and one and one-fourth ounce of shot. 
Such a gun, charged with number 6 shot for 
inland ducks, or number 3s for geese, is a good 
killer up to fifty yards. 

If greater range is desired, then choose a 10- 
gauge of nearly or quite ten pounds, thirty-two 
inch barrels, and taking shells long enough for five 
drams of powder, well wadded, and one and one- 
half ounce of 4s or 5s for ducks, Is or 2s for 
geese. Properly held, it will account for nearly 
everything within sixty yards. 

137 



SPORTING FIREARMS 

On the coast, where long shots may be the rule, 
an 8-gauge of thirteen pounds, thirty-four inch 
barrels, chambered for seven drams of powder 
and two ounces of 3s or 4s for ducks, Is or BBs 
for geese, is eminently a proper arm for men who 
can wield it promptly. Its effective range is 
about seventy yards. A glance at the first table 
in this chapter will show the superiority of large 
charges and big shot, beyond peradventure. Still, 
it is likely that nearly all inland duck hunters 
will find a specially designed 12-gauge their most 
satisfactory arm, in the long run. 

3. Trap Guns. The standard trap gun of to- 
day, the world over, is a full-choked 12-gauge. 
Usually it is of seven and three-fourths to eight 
pounds weight, with thirty-two inch barrels, using 
three and one-fourth drams of powder, and one 
and one-fourth ounce of number seven and one- 
half shot. Both closeness and uniformity of pat- 
tern are indispensable. 

4. All-round Guns. The man who can own but 
one gun for all purposes, and whose shooting in- 
cludes both upland game and waterfowl, should 
certainly buy a double-barrel for the sake of hav- 
ing two chokes, for short and long range respec- 
tively or else have two barrels for his auto. Since 
his weapon must be a compromise, he cannot lean 

138 



GAUGES AND WEIGHTS 

toward any extreme, nor can he f airly expect to be 
a top-notcher in either form of sport. It is es- 
sential that his gun should throw large and small 
shot equally well. On this account more, perhaps, 
than on any other, a 12-gauge is pre-eminently 
the arm for him. Let it be quarter-choked (fifty 
per cent) in the right barrel, and full-choked 
(seventy per cent) in the left, chambered for two 
and five-eighths inch shells, so that either three, or 
three and one-eighth, or even three and one-fourth 
drams of powder may be used with one and one- 
eighth ounce of shot. Such a gun should weigh 
about seven and one-half pounds, and should have 
thirty-inch barrels. 

If, however, the gunner's requirements never 
call for larger shot than number six ; then a seven 
pound 16-gauge might answer every purpose. 



139 



CHAPTER IX 

MECHANISM AND BUILD OF SHOTGUNS 

REPEATING shotguns are cheap, service- 
able, deadly, and therefore popular, in 
spite of their inherent ugliness. They are 
less objectionable at the traps than anywhere 
else. In duck shooting over decoys, where power- 
ful charges are not needed, the 12-gauge pump 
gun gives a good account of itself. The only 10- 
gauge repeater on our market scarcely deserves 
mention, as it is too light to handle any duck loads 
that are strong enough to bring out the super- 
iority of a ten over smaller bores. In upland 
shooting, a repeater is clumsier to carry than a 
neat double-barrel of equal power and has the 
marked disadvantage of only one choke for all 
ranges. 

Self-loading shotguns generally called " auto- 
matics " are still in the awkward period of de- 
velopment. This much can be said for them: 
that they are positive self-ejectors, with single 
trigger, at a moderate price. From a mechanical 

140 



MECHANISM AND BUILD 

standpoint their chief defect is a lurking uncer- 
tainty of functioning. At the time of this writ- 
ing, such arms are only made in 12-gauge, with 
forearm so excessively deep as to throw the hand- 
hold too low for good instinctive pointing. It 
would be better to cut down the gun to 16 or 20- 
gauge, with lines proportionally refined, and stock 
it so that both of the shooter's hands will come up 
naturally in line when he aims. 

There are other reasons for restricting the self- 
loader to small and graceful proportions. No- 
body of good taste can tolerate a gun that looks 
like a crooked club and handles like one. More- 
over, there is an ethical objection to rapid-fire 
arms that would be silenced if smaller gauges of 
narrow killing pattern were adopted. It is 
claimed that they are unsportsmanlike: that they 
tempt one to ruthless and indiscriminate slaughter. 
Automatic shotguns are outlawed in Pennsylvania 
and throughout Canada, on the same principle 
that forbids the use of swivel guns on waterfowl 
and dynamite on fish. 

We may note certain inconsistencies in such 
legislation. If the self-loader is an unsportsman- 
like weapon, then so is the pump gun ; for there is 
little, if any, difference in their destructiveness, 
when used by skilled and unscrupulous hands. 

141 



SPORTING FIREARMS 

It is not the gun, but the gunner, who is to 
blame. Our passenger pigeons were not exter- 
minated with breech-loaders, nor our buffalo with 
self-loading rifles. And, to-day, far more game 
is slaughtered, in season and out of season, with 
single-loading " nigger guns " than with all the 
automatics in America. It is stated that about 
500,000 new shotguns are sold every year in the 
United States, of which not less than 350,000 sell 
for $5, or less. Who uses those cheap guns? 
As a rule, they are in the hands of pot-hunters 
who sneak about, at all times of the year, mur- 
dering every edible animal that they can find, on 
the ground or any way they can get them. This 
irresponsible class of men and boys are too shift- 
less to keep a complicated gun in working order, 
even if they could muster the price. The only 
measures that can be counted upon to protect the 
wild life of this country are uniform game laws, 
decently paid wardens, national breeding grounds, 
and prohibition of the sale or import of dead 
game. 

Regarding small bore automatic shotguns, I 
agree heartily with the views expressed by Mr. 
Askins, in a recent magazine : " It is not to be 
doubted that many conscientious hunters are pre- 
vented from using a magazine shotgun by the feel- 

142 



MECHANISM AND BUILD 

ing that it is an unsportsmanlike arm; that it 
gives the marksman an undue advantage, is un- 
necessarily deadly. Such men would take most 
kindly to a 20-gauge with its closer choke, nar- 
rowed killing circle, and lessened charge of shot. 
In the opinion of these marksmen the reduced 
chances of killing with a single load would be ex- 
actly balanced by the reserve of fire." I may add 
that, on the score of sportsmanship, there is the 
same refined pleasure in getting results with light 
guns that we feel in landing big fish with delicate 
tackle. But nobody wants a 20-gauge repeater 
unless it is built throughout on 20-gauge lines. 

Up to the present time, everyone who insists 
upon graceful contours, " live " balance, due pro- 
portions of gun to charge, fine materials through- 
out, and skilful hand finish, has no choice but a 
double gun. In double-barrel shotguns we can 
get what we cannot get in rifles anything we 
want, turned out by either of half-a-dozen Amer- 
ican factories. 

The best barrels, irrespective of price, are those 
made of fluid-compressed steel, either Krupp or 
Whitworth. Next in quality come the various 
" nitro " steels of high grade, for which each gun- 
maker seems to have his own pet name. They are 
homogeneous metals, of high tensile strength, that 
are drilled from short rods, then rolled and drawn, 

143 



SPORTING FIREARMS 

while hot, to the required length and rough-bore. 
Barrels of this sort are not only stronger than 
Damascus: they are of closer texture, they take 
a finer polish, and hence do not pit or lead so 
easily with smokeless powder. Besides, they are 
easier to make, and therefore cheaper. In the 
old days, Damascus was preferred because it was 
a certain guarantee of quality, as compared with 
the inferior plain steel of the period. Damascus 
is made from alternate layers of iron and steel, 
twisted together into a spiral, heated and ham- 
mered flat, welded around a mandrel, forged into 
shape, bored to gauge, and then browned by a 
rusting process so as to bring out the figure or 
" curl " of the metals. Such a barrel is so tough 
that it would bulge, rather than burst; but it is 
soft enough to be dented easily, and its iron por- 
tion is eaten into by the acid gases of smokeless 
powder. 

Aside from the quality of metal and wood, a 
well-made gun is distinguished from a cheap one 
chiefly by the following points. 

1. The frame is comparatively light. Gun 
frames are milled from the solid block. If this 
job is skimped, a lot of superfluous metal is left 
at the breech, making the gun needlessly heavy 
and ill-balanced. 

S>. The working parts are of tough and homo- 
144 



MECHANISM AND BUILD 

geneous steel, hard enough to stand long wear. 
They are finished by master craftsmen and have 
an unmistakably thoroughbred look, if we may 
apply such a term to inanimate material. In a 
cheap gun we find such abomination as " malleable 
casting." It is soft or brittle stuff, and every 
part grates on its bearings. Inside of a gun 
beauty is proof of utility, every time. 

3. All joints are perfect. In the finest speci- 
mens of guns the doll's-head and other joints fit 
with such exquisite nicety that the lines of junc- 
tion cannot be seen with the naked eye. A hu- 
man hair, or the thinnest tissue paper, would pre- 
vent the barrels from closing on the breech. 
Similarly the fitting of wood to metal is so close 
that no moisture can seep in between them. 

4. The trigger-release is smooth, quick, and in- 
variable. This is a matter of the utmost impor- 
ance, for marksmanship with any kind of fire- 
arm depends more upon absolute control of the 
trigger than upon anything else. I would put 
up with almost any other botch in a gun rather 
than tolerate a " mean " trigger. The various 
grades of meanness can only be detected by firing, 
or snapping, repeatedly from the shoulder. 

In the matter of trigger-pull, one can only ex- 
press his own preferences, for what suits one man 

145 



SPORTING FIREARMS 

may disconcert another. If, after firing several 
rounds, you find yourself thinking of the trigger 
at all, then that lock needs doctoring to fit your 
personal equation. A pull of not under three and 
one-half pounds for the rear trigger is necessary, 
in any case, to preclude jarring-off of the second 
barrel. The front trigger should actually pull 
lighter than the rear one, because it has not so 
good leverage. Then both triggers will seem to 
pull alike. 

Choice of single or double-trigger mechanism de- 
pends a good deal upon one's shooting habits. 
" It is hard to teach an old dog new tricks ;" and 
yet the new trick may be a good one. Men who 
are not set in their ways will find a first-class single 
trigger an advantage, because one pulls it always 
from the same point, at the same angle, with the 
same pressure, and without relaxing his grip. A 
single trigger has this further merit : that in shoot- 
ing heavy loads continuously, as at the traps, one's 
finger is not bruised by a front trigger recoiling 
against it, or by the guard. Everybody who has 
suffered in this way knows that it causes flinching. 
The difference in speed of fire, between single and 
double triggers, amounts to nothing, when stiff 
charges are used; for the kick-up and return of 
muzzle must be waited for, in any case. A left- 

146 



MECHANISM AND BUILD 

handed shooter will find the single trigger easier 
to manipulate than double ones. 

Hammerless guns are the safest, for the obvious 
reason that they cannot be discharged by catching 
in brush, clothing, fence wires, etc. ; also because a 
hammer may slip when one's thumb is numb with 
cold. If you have any lingering mistrust of the 
hammerless, then get one with an automatic safety. 
This is an especially admirable contrivance to have 
on " the other fellow's " gun. 

Some shotguns are locked shut by a bolt which 
engages lugs under the barrel. Such a mechanism 
is bound to wear shaky in time. There are guns 
of this kind so well made that they remain tight 
for a long period, but the principle is faulty in 
itself. The locking point should be as far as prac- 
ticable from the hinge ; as anyone can realize if he 
stops to think about it. The proper place is 
where the rearward extension of the rib enters 
the frame. The best fastening is a rotary bolt, 
which is beveled or tapered. This bolt goes 
from one side of the frame, through the extension 
rib, into the opposite side, and also locks over 
the extension. It is actuated by a heavy spring. 
Its taper automatically takes up all wear. There 
can be no more play than with a wedge driven 
home. The gun will always close tight, no mat- 
ter how much it has been used. 

147 



SPORTING FIREARMS 

A self-ejector is such a positive advantage on 
any gun that it should be applied, as a matter of 
course, to all but the very cheapest grades. 
There is no good reason why it should add more 
than ten dollars to the cost of the ordinary dou- 
ble-barrel. 

As for engraving on a gun, I have already ex- 
pressed the opinion that it is ornament out of 
place. If you must have it, then, by all means, 
get a pattern designed by somebody who knows 
art from filigree. A profusion of meaningless 
scrolls, or other rococo, cheapens a weapon and 
provides just so many extra nests for rust to 
breed in. Anyway, if you can afford engrav- 
ing, you can afford something distinctive a bit 
more original than the everlasting pointer dog 
or the stag at bay. Your own monogram is 
the best design of all. 

What has been said of wood for rifle stocks 
applies equally to shotguns. The right fit and 
" hang " of a shotgun are another matter, be- 
cause the arm is handled differently from a rifle. 
A gunner's eye, and his whole attention, should 
be on the mark alone. He should not be con- 
scious of seeing either the front sight or the rib. 
The gun-pointing is done with his two hands, 
as quickly as he would point a forefinger. Hence 

148 



MECHANISM AND BUILD 

the gun, to be a fit, must come up naturally, 
with rib parallel to line of aim (or, rather, tilted 
a little upward) and aligned with it, whenever the 
two hands are leveled on the mark. 

If a gunstock is too crooked for your own 
build, you will shoot low; if too straight, you 
will overshoot. Moreover, if your cheek does not 
come just right against the comb of stock, you 
will aim diagonally across the gun's rib, without 
knowing it, and so shoot to right or left, as the 
case may be. If the heel of the stock does not 
rest against the same part of the shoulder, every 
time, your shooting will be irregular. A grip 
that does not fit the right hand prevents the firm 
grasp that is necessary to take up recoil, and so 
will provoke flinching. A forearm that misfits 
will balk a man in guiding the gun. If the stock 
is too short, it will buffet your face, and shoot 
low or in front; if too long, it will catch under 
your armpit, interfere with your trigger-reach, 
and make you shoot high and behind. 

It is customary, in ordering guns, to specify 
only three measurements of stock, namely: the 
length from front trigger to center of butt, the 
drop at comb, and the drop at heel. These may 
suffice for average men, but if one is particular 
about getting a perfect fit, and is willing to pay- 

149 



SPORTING FIREARMS 

extra for it, he should give more detailed meas- 
urements, as shown in the following cut. 




GUNSTOCK MEASUREMENTS. 

First, lay a gun that fits you (or nearly fits 
you) on a table; then take a straight-edge as 
long as the gun and lay it along the top of the 
rib and out over the butt, snug against muzzle 
and breech. Now measure, as shown below, to 
whatever dimensions you deem best. By way of 
illustration I append actual measurements for a 
man of medium and symmetrical build. 

A-C. Length from heel to trigger 14 5-16 inches 

D-C. Length from hollow to trigger 14^ 

E.G. Length from toe to trigger 14% 

B-B. Drop at comb 1% 

A-A. Drop at heel 2% 

A-E. Depth from toe to heel 5% 

B.F. Length of grip 7 

G. Circumference of grip 4}4 

C-H. Trigger to cap of pistol grip 4% 

Cast-off (explained below) *4 

In testing for length, it is important to hold 
the left hand in its most comfortable and master- 

150 



MECHANISM AND BUILD 

ful position, well forward of the trigger guard, 
so as to give good command of the gun in any 
attitude, and yet not far enough to put any 
strain on the left arm. The closer one holds to 
the trigger guard with his left hand, the longer 
the stock should be, and vice versa. It is the 
left arm that really governs the proper length 
of stock, rather than the right. 

A short-armed man requires about a fourteen- 
inch stock; a long-armed one, fourteen and one- 
half to fourteen and three-fourths. Bend of 
stock depends upon length of one's neck, and 
also upon whether he crooks his neck a good 
deal, in aiming, or points his gun when his head 
is more erect. In general, it is best to select a 
rather straight stock, for the express purpose 
of throwing the shots a little high. Most birds 
are shot on the rise, and all shot drops in its 
flight. 

A full-chested man requires more hollow in the 
butt-plate than a flat-chested one. 

The comb of a gun affects aim both vertically 
and horizontally. If its drop is just right for 
the individual user it will direct his shot at the 
right elevation the comb is, in effect, a shot- 
gun's rear sight. If its thickness just suits the 
shooter's face, then his eye will naturally follow 

151 



SPORTING FIREARMS 

the center of the gun's rib. In trying guns for 
drop, hold your head well up, just as you would 
in the field don't sight down along the rib. 
Drop at heel, as a rule, is proportional to drop at 
comb. The usual ratios are: one and one-fourth 
inch at comb to two inches at heel (short neck) ; 
one and three-eighths, two and one-fourth ; one 
and one-half, two and one-half (medium neck) ; 
one and five-eighths, two and five-eighths ; one and 
three- fourths, two and three-fourths (long neck) ; 
one and seven-eighths, three inches. 

If a pistol grip is wanted, let it be of shorter 
radius (four to four and one-fourth inches) and 
fuller curve than the present fashion. I can see 
no advantage in a pistol grip unless the gun has 
only a single trigger. 

Circumference of grip is governed by the size 
of one's hand. A grip that is too slender cramps 
the hand, or slips through it when recoiling, and 
is easily broken in the field. 

Cast-off means a sidewise bend of the stock to 
bring the rib into accurate alignment with the 
eye. A hollowed-out comb has the same effect 
as a cast-off to the right. Either of them helps 
in difficult swinging shots. The amount of cast- 
off, or shape of comb, is wholly dependent on 
one's personal build. For average men, a cast- 

152 



MECHANISM AND BUILD 

off of one-eighth to three-sixteenth inch is suffi- 
cient. If you are broad-chested, more may be 
needed. 

A gun balances right when its weight is con- 
centrated near its center of gravity, and when 
this center is so placed that the right and left 
hands support equal weight. Such " hang " 
makes a gun buoyant, makes it feel lighter than 
it really is, and helps immensely to level the two 
hands when pointing for a quick shot. An ill- 
balanced gun is inert, sluggish in the gunner's 
grasp. A well-balanced one is " alive," respon- 
sive. Both weapons may be of the same weight; 
but one will drag and tire a man, while the other 
will seem a part of his very self. We all know 
what it means to say that " the horse and his 
rider are one " ; in the same way should a gun and 
gunner be one. 



THE END 



153 



HANDBOOKS 

^f Each book deals with a separate subject 
and deals with it thoroughly. If you want to 
know anything about Airedales an O U T"l N O 
HANDBOOK gives you all you want. If 
it's Apple Growing, another O U T*I N G 
HANDBOOK meets your need. The Fisherman, 
the Camper, the Poultry-raiser, the Automobilist, 
the Horseman, all varieties of outdoor enthusi- 
asts, will find separate volumes for their separate 
interests. There is no waste space. 
f| The series is based on the plan of one sub- 
ject to a book and each book complete. The 
authors are experts. Each book has been specially 
prepared for this series and all are published in 
uniform style, flexible cloth binding, selling at 
the fixed price of seventy cents per copy. 
J Two hundred titles are projected. The series 
covers all phases of outdoor life, from bee-keeping 
to big game shooting. Among the books now 
ready are those described on the following pages. 

OUTING PUBLISHING COMPANY 

OUTING MAGAZINE yachting 0-tFH-N-G HANDBOOKS 

I4M45 WEST 30TH ST. NEW YORK 122 S. MICHIGAN AVE. CHICAGO 



Outing Handbooks 



THE AIREDALE. By Williams Haynes. The book opens with 
a short chapter on the origin and development of the Airedale, as a dis- 
tinctive breed. The author then takes up the problems of type as bear- 
ing on the selection of the dog, breeding, training and use. The book is 
designed for the non-professional dog fancier, who wishes common sense 
advice which does not involve elaborate preparation or expenditure. 
Chapters are included on the care of the dog in the kennel and simple 
remedies for ordinary diseases. 

"A splendid book on the breed and should be in the hands 
of every owner of an Airedale whether novice or 
breeder." The Kennel Review. 

"It ought to be read and studied by every Airedale owner 
and admirer." Howard Keeler, Airedale Farm Kennels. 

APPLE GROWING. By M. C. Burritt. Mr. Burritt takes up 
the question of the profit in apple growing, the various kinds best suited 
to different parts of the country and different conditions of soil, 
topography, and so on. He discusses also the most approved methods 
of planning a new orchard and takes up in detail the problems connected 
with the cultivation, fertilization, and pruning. The book contains chap- 
ters on the restoration of old orchards, the care of the trees, their pro- 
tection against various insect-enemies and blight, and the most approved 
method of harvesting, handling and storing the fruit. 

THE AUTOMOBILE Its Selection, Care and Use. By Robert 
Sloss. This is a plain, practical discussion of the things that every man 
needs to know if he is to buy the right car and get the most out of it. 
The various details of operation and care are given in simple, intelligent 
terms. From it the car owner can easily learn the mechanism of his 
motor and the art of locating motor trouble, as well as how to use his car 
for the greatest pleasure. A chapter is included on building garages. 
"// is the one book dealing with autos, that gives reliable 
information." The Grand Rapids (Mich.) Herald. 

BACKWOODS SURGERY AND MEDICINE. By Charles 
S. Moody, M. D. A handy book for the prudent lover of the woods who 
doesn't expect to be ill but believes in being on the safe side. Common- 
sense methods for the treatment of the ordinary wounds and accidents 
are described setting a broken limb, reducing a dislocation, caring for 
burns, cuts, etc. Practical remedies for camp diseases are recommended, 
as well as the ordinary indications of the most probable ailments. In 
eludes a list of the necessary medical and surgical supplies. 

The manager of a mine in Nome, Alaska, writes as fol- 
lows: "/ have been on the trail for years (twelve in the 
Klondike and Alaska) and have always wanted just such 
a book as Dr. Moody^ s T&ackwoods Surgery and Medicine ." 



Outing Handbooks 



CAMP COOKERY. By Horace Kephart. "The less a man 
carries in his pack, the more he must carry in his head," says Mr. Kep- 
hart. This book tells what a man should carry in both pack and head. 
Every step is traced the selection of provisions and utensils, with the 
kind and quantity of each, the preparation of game, the building of fires 
the cooking of every conceivable kind of food that the camp outfit or 
woods, fields, or streams may provide even to the making of desserts. 
Every receipt is the result of hard practice and long experience. Every 
recipe has been carefully tested. It is the book for the man who 
wants to dine well and wholesomely, but in true wilderness fashion with- 
out reliance on grocery stores or elaborate camp outfits. It is, adapted 
equally well to the trips of every length and to all conditions of climate, 
season or country; the best possible companion for one who wants to 
travel light and live well. The chapter headings tell their own story. 
Provisions Utensils Fires Dressing and Keeping Game and Fish 
Meat Game Fish and Shell Fish Cured Meats, etc. Eggs Bread- 
stuffs and Cereals Vegetables Soups Beverages and Desserts. 

"Scores of new hints may he obtained by the housekeeper 

as well as the camper from Camp Cookery." Portland 

Oregonian. 

"I am inclined to think that the advice contained in Mr. 

Kephart' s book is to be relied on. I had to stop reading 

his receipts for cooking wild fowl they made me hungry.' ' 

New York Herald. 

"The most useful and valuable book to the camper yet 

published." Grand Rapids Herald. 

"Camp Cookery is destined to be in the kit of every tent 

dweller in the country." Edwin Markham in the San 

Francisco Examiner. 

CAMPS AND CABINS. By Oliver Kemp. A working guide 
for the man who wants to know how to make a temporary shelter in the 
woods against the storm or cold. This describes the making of lean-tos, 
brush shelters, snow shelters, the utilization of the canoe, and so forth. 
Practically the only tools required are a stout knife or a pocket axe, and 
Mr. Kemp shows how one may make shift even without these imple- 
ments. More elaborate camps and log cabins, also, are described and 
detailed plans reproduced. Illustrated with drawings by the author. 

EXERCISE AND HEALTH. By Dr. Woods Hutchinson. Dr. 

Hutchinson takes the common-sense view that the greatest problem in 
exercise for most of us is to get enough of the right kind. The greatest 
error in exercise is not to take enough, and the greatest danger in ath- 
letics is in giving them up. The Chapter heads are illuminating. Errors 
in Exercise Exercise and the Heart Muscle Maketh Man The Danger 
of Stopping Athletics Exercise that Rests. It is written in a direct 



Outing Handbokks 



matter-of-fact manner with an avoidance of medical terms, and a strong 
emphasis on the rational, all-round manner of living that is best calcu- 
lated to bring a man to a ripe old age with little illness or consciousness 
of body weakness. 

1 'It contains good physiology as well as good common sense, 
^written by an acute observer and a logical reasoner, 
who has the courage of his convictions and is a master of 
English style." D. A. Sargent, M. 7)., Sargent School 
for Physical Education. 

"One of the most readable books ever written on physi- 
cal exercise." Luther H. Gulick, M. D. y Department 
of Child Hygiene , Russell Sage foundation. 
" A little book for the busy manvjritten in brilliant style ." 
Kansas City Star. 

THE FINE ART OF FISHING. By Samuel G. Camp. Com- 
bines the pleasure of catching fish with the gratification of following the 
sport in the most approved manner. The suggestions offered are help- 
ful to beginner and expert anglers. The range of fish and fishing condi- 
tions covered is wide and includes such subjects as "Casting Fine and Far 
Off," "Strip-Casting for Bass," "Fishing For Mountain Trout" and "Autumn 
Fishing for Lake Trout." The book is pervaded with a spirit of love for 
the streamside and the out-doors generally which the genuine angler 
will appreciate. A companion book to "Fishing Kits and Equipment." 
The advice on outfitting so capably given in that book is supplemented 
in this later work by equally valuable information on how to use the 
equipment. 

"Will encourage the beginner and give pleasure to the 

expert fisherman." N. Y. Sun. 

* A vein of catching enthusiasm rnns through every 

chapter." Scientific American. 

FISHING KITS AND EQUIPMENT. By Samuel G. Camp. 

A complete guide to the angler buying a new outfit. Every detail of fish- 
ing kit of the freshwater angler is described, from rodtip to creel and 
clothing. Special emphasis is laid on outfitting for fly fishing, but full in- 
struction is also given to the man who wants to catch pickerel, pike, 
muskellunge, lake-trout, bass and other fresh-water game fishes. Prices 
are quoted for all articles recommended and the approved method of 
selecting and testing the various rods, lines, leaders, etc., is described. 

"A complete guide to the angler buying a nevj outfit."- 

Peoria Herald. 

"The man advised by Mr. Camp will catch his fish." 

Seattle P. I. 

"Even the seasoned angler vjill read this book vuith 

profit." Chicago Tribune. 



Outing Handbooks 



THE HORSE Its Breeeding, Care and Use. By David 
Buffum. Mr. Buffum takes up the common, every-day problems of the 
ordinary horse-user, such as feeding, shoeing, simple home remedies, 
breaking and the cure for various equine vices. An important chapter 
is that tracing the influx of Arabian blood into the English and Ameri- 
can horses and its value and limitations. Chapters are included on 
draft-horses, carriage horses, and the development of the two-minute trot- 
ter. It is distinctly a sensible book for the sensible man who wishes to 
know how he can improve his horses and his horsemanship at the same 
time. 

"/ am recommending it to our students as a useful refer- 
ence book for both the practical farmer and the student." 
T. R.Arkell, Animal Husbandman, N . H. Agricultural 
Experiment Station. 

" Has a great deal of merit from a practical standpoint 
and is valuable for reference work.' 1 Prof.E.L. Jordan, 
Professor of Animal Industry , Louisiana State University. 



MAKING AND KEEPING SOIL. By David Buffum. This 
deals with the various kinds of soil and their adaptibility to different 
crops, common sense tests as to the use of soils, and also the common 
sense methods of cultivation and fertilization in order to restore worn- 
out soil and keep it at its highest productivity under constant use. 



THE MOTOR BOAT Its Selection, Care and Use. By H. W. 
Slauson. The intending purchaser of a motor boat is advised as to the 
type of boat best suited to his particular needs, the power required for 
the desired speeds, and the equipment necessary for the varying uses. 
The care of the engine receives special attention and chapters are in- 
cluded on the use of the boat in camping and cruising expeditions, its 
care through the winter, and its efficiency in the summer. 



NAVIGATION FOR THE AMATEUR. By Capt. E. T. Mor- 
ton. A short treatise on the simpler methods of finding position at sea 
by the observation of the sun's altitude and the use of the sextant and 
chronometer. It is arranged especially for yachtsmen and amateurs who 
wish to know the simpler formulae for the necessary navigation involved 
in taking a boat anywhere off shore. Illustrated with drawings. 



Outing Handbooks 



OUTDOOR SIGNALLING. By Elbert Wells. Mr. Wells has 
perfected a method of signalling by means of wig-wag, light, smoke, or 
whistle which is as simple as it is effective. The fundamental principle 
can be learnt in ten minutes and its application is far easier than that of 
any other code now in use. It permits also the use of cipher and can 
be adapted to almost any imaginable conditions of weather, light, or 
topography. 

"/ find it to be the simplest and most practical book on 
signalling published." Frank H. Schrenk, Director of 
Camp "Belgrade. 

"One of the finest things of the kind I have ever seen. I 
believe my seven year old boy can learn to use this system, 
and I knovu that vjewillfnd it very useful here in our 
Tfoy Scout vuork." Lyman G. Haskell, Physical Direc- 
tor, Y. M. C. A., Jacksonville, Fla. 

PRACTICAL POULTRY KEEPING. ByR.B.Sando. The chap- 
ters outlined in this book are poultry keeping and keepers, housing and 
yarding, fixtures and equipment, choosing and buying stock, foods and feed- 
ing, hatching and raising chicks. Inbreeding, caponizing, etc., What to do 
at different seasons, The merits of "secrets and systems", The truth about 
common poultry fallacies and get-rich-quick schemes. Poultry parasites and 
diseases. A complete list of the breeds and subjects is attached. It is 
in effect a comprehensive manual for the instruction of the man who de- 
sires to begin poultry raising on a large or small scale and to avoid the 
ordinary mistakes to which the beginner is prone. All the statements 
are based on the authors own experience and special care has been taken 
to avoid sensationalism or exaggeration. 

PROFITABLE BREEDS OF POULTRY. By Arthur S. 

Wheeler. Mr. Wheeler has chapters on some of the best known gen- 
eral purpose birds such as Rhode Island Reds, Plymouth Rocks, Wyan- 
dottes, Mediterraneans, Orpingtons, and Cornish, describing the pecu- 
liarities and possibilities of each. There are additional chapters on the 
method of handling a poultry farm on a small scale with some instruc- 
tions as to housing the birds, and so forth, and also a chapter on the 
market side of poultry growing. 



RIFLES AND RIFLE SHOOTING. By Charles Askins. Part 

I describes the various makes and mechanisms taking up such points as 
range and adaptibility of the various calibers, the relative merits of lever, 
bolt and pump action, the claims of the automatic, and so forth. Part 

II deals with rifle shooting, giving full instruction for target practice, 
snap shooting, and wing shooting. 



Outing Handbooks 



SCOTTISH AND IRISH TERRIERS. By Williams Haynes 

This is a companion book to The Airedale and deals with the origin o: 
the breeds, the standard types, appproved methods of breeding, kennel 
ing, training, care and so forth, with chapters on showing and also or 
the ordinary diseases and simple remedies. 



SPORTING FIREARMS. By Horace Kephart. This book is 
devided into two parts, Part I dealing with the Rifle and Part II with the 
Shotgun. Mr. Kephart goes at some length into the questions of range 
trajectory and killing power of the different types of rifles and charges 
and also has chapters on rifle mechanisms, sights, barrels, and so forth 
In the part dealing with shotguns he takes up the question of range, the 
effectiveness of various loads, suitability of the different types of boring, 
the testing of the shotguns by pattern, and so forth. 

TRACKS AND TRACKING. By Josef Brunncr. After twenty 
years of patient study and practical experience, Mr. Brunner can, from 
his intimate knowledge, speak with authority on this subject. "Tracks 
and Tracking" shows how to follow intelligently even the most intricate 
animal or bird tracks. It teaches how to interpret tracks of wild game 
and decipher the many tell-tale signs of the chase that would otherwise 
pass unnoticed. It proves how it is possible to tell from the footprints 
the name, sex, speed, direction, whether and how wounded, and many 
other things about wild animals and birds. All material has been gath- 
ered first hand; the drawings and half-tones from photographs form an 
important part of the work, as the author has made faithful pictures of 
the tracks and signs of the game followed. The list is : The White-Tailed 
or Virginia Deer The Fan-Tailed Deer The Mule-Deer The Wapiti or 
Elk The Moose The Mountain Sheep The Antelope The Bear 
The Cougar The Lynx The Domestic Cat The Wolf The Coyote 
The Fox The Jack Rabbit The Varying Hare The Cottontail Rabbit 
The Squirrel The Marten and the Black-Footed Ferret The Otter 
The Mink The Ermine The BeaverThe Badger The Porcupine 
The Skunk Feathered Game Upland Birds Waterfowl Predatory 
Birds This book is invaluable to the novice as well as the experienced 
hunter. 

11 This book studied carefully, will enable the reader to 
become as well versed in tracking lore as he could by 
years of actual experience.' 1 ' 1 Leiviston Journal. 



Outing Handbooks 



WING AND TRAP-SHOOTING. By Charles A skins. The 

only practical manual in existance dealing with the modern gun. It 
contains a full discussion of the various methods, such as snap-shooting, 
swing and half-swing, discusses the flight of birds with reference to the 
gunner's problem of lead and range and makes special application of the 
various points to the different birds commonly shot in this country. A 
chapter is included on trap shooting and the book closes with a forceful 
and common-sense presentation of the etiquette of the field. 

"It is difficult to understand how anyone 'who takes a de- 
light in hunting can afford to be without this valuable 
book." Chamber of Commerce Bulletin, Portland^ Ore. 

"This book will prove an invaluable manual to the true 
sportsman, vuhether he be a tyro or expert "^ Book Nevus 
Monthly. 

"Its closing chapter on field etiquette deserves careful 
reading." N. Y. Times. 



THE YACHTSMAN'S HANDBOOK. By Commander C. S, 
Stanworth, U. S. N. and Others. Deals with the practical handling 
of sail boats, with some light on the operation of the gasoline motor. It 
includes such subjects as handling ground tackle, handling lines and 
taking soundings, and use of the lead line; handling sails, engine troubles 
that may be avoided, care of the gasolene motor and yachting etiquette. 



THIS BOOK IS DUE ON THE LAST DATE 
STAMPED BELOW 



AN INITIAL FINE OF 25 CENTS 

WILL BE ASSESSED FOR FAILURE TO RETURN 
THIS BOOK ON THE DATE DUE. THE PENALTY 
WILL INCREASE TO SO CENTS ON THE FOURTH 
DAY AND TO $I.OO ON THE SEVENTH DAY 
OVERDUE. 



JUL 10 1933 



16 



25 



REC'D UD 

MAR 2 01961 
iEP 131977 ' *i 



FEB 20 1936 , 

K, 

JAN 5 1937 



REC'D LD 

DEC 26 1956 

. 

8 c '- --^ 
RECD 



.G. CIR.S : :F 19 '77 

DEC 1 6 1988 

--W29 'QB 
AUTO. DISC. 

2 1990 



JUN01 

U.C.Bfc. 



U.C. BERKELEY LIBRARIES